Prosecutors accused Richins — who was charged with fatally poisoning her husband — of witness tampering over the letter, which they believe instructed her brother to lie and link his death to "pills from Mexico."
The day after Kouri Richins – the Utah mom accused of fatally poisoning her husband Eric with fentanyl before writing a children’s book about dealing with grief — was accused of witness tampering, she attempted to explain away a letter found in her jail cell which the prosecution used against her as evidence.
According to a court filing from last week, via Fox 13 Now, deputies found a handwritten, six-page note from Richins to her mother Lisa, filled with apparent instructions on how her mom should get her brother Ronald to testify on her behalf. She hoped his testimony would throw suspicion onto her late husband himself, accusing him of going to Mexico to get drugs before his death, according to prosecutors. The letter also allegedly included a request for her mom to buy her a box of Crest White Strips that her lawyer, Skye Lozaro, could slip her during a visit.
The prosecution requested Richins have no further contact with her mother or brother on September 15; the judge has not yet ruled on the request. The next day, September 16, Richins spoke with her mother over the phone and offered up an explanation for the contents of the letter.
“When I first got in here I was telling you how I was writing a book … those papers were not a letter to you guys, they were part of my freaking book,” she said, according to court docs filed by prosecutors on Tuesday.
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“I was writing this fictional mystery book … I go to Mexico and I’m like trying to find these drugs … I’m writing about Dad … like me and Dad went to Mexico to find these drugs … you can very much tell that the whole thing is very much a story,” she allegedly continued. “Then I get the Mexican prison … I said have Skye sneak me in some white strips because my teeth are yellow because all we do is drink coffee in the Mexican prison.”
The court filing was in response to one from Richins’ defense attorney, who argued the letter’s release violated a gag order in the case. Prosecutors called the motion “unpersuasive at best,” before pushing back at any suggestion the release of the letter also violated attorney-client privilege.
First, they pointed to the fact Richins herself claimed the letter was a “work of her own fiction writing,” in which she appeared to speak directly to her mother and not her lawyer. “Defendant is asking her mother to facilitate witness tampering involving her brother, seeking to have her brother support a false factual narrative,” they said in their response.
“Even if the Court credits the Defendant’s far-fetched explanation that the letter is somehow a note regarding a fictional Mexican prison, the letter would still not constitute a privileged attorney-client communication because it still was not addressed to the Defendant’s counsel for the purpose of securing legal advice,” they added. “The addressee is clear from the content of the letter.”
In a statement, Richins’ attorney said they disputed “State’s characterizations and anticipate filing further briefing on these issues.”
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The letter was one of three prosecutors referred to when filing the No Contact Order. They claim Richins was first heard reading a letter another inmate wrote her — something which is apparently prohibited — to her mother on September 13. The next day, she allegedly made a video call in which she held up another multi-page letter for her mother to read, while not reading it aloud herself. Then, later that same day, her cell was searched and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office found the “Walk the Dog” letter “hidden in an LSAT prep book.”
The other letters weren’t discovered in the search.
The letter which was found reportedly began with the words “Walk The Dog!!” at the top in large letters, though the rest of the note had nothing to do with any canines. Instead, according to prosecutors, she claimed her attorney “wants to link Eric getting drugs & pills from Mexico,” telling her mom, “So we need some kind of connection.”
“Here is what I’m thinking but you have to talk to Ronney. He would probably have to testify to this, but its super short not a lot to it. He will need to tell Skye at the meeting next week,” she reportedly wrote, before detailing what she allegedly wanted her brother to tell her attorney.
“A year prior to Eric’s death, Ronney was over watching football one Sunday and Eric and Ronney were chatting about Eric’s Mexico trips. Eric told Ronney he gets pain pills & fentanyl from Mexico from the workers at the ranch.”
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She allegedly wanted Ronney to say Eric told him not to tell her about the drugs “because I would get mad because I always said he just gets high every night and won’t help take care of the kids (there are pictures in my phone of Eric passed out on the floor or chair. Ronney should have texts from Eric talking about getting high as well.”
She went on to allegedly say she wanted her brother to testify Eric told him he hid his drugs in an allergy pill bottle in his work truck so nobody would find them, before claiming Eric would hide his drugs in Kouri’s bag anytime they traveled together “that way if they were caught, Kouri got in trouble, not him.” She also wanted Ronney to say his sister “has never done any type of pills, doesn’t like them,” per prosecutors.
Kouri also reportedly wrote about her fears that her mom’s phone and home were bugged, asking her mother to meet with Ronney in person. “Tell him I need him to do this. Bring me home and then we will get those damn bitches!” she exclaimed, prosecutors claim.
Paramedics responded to the home of Eric and Kouri Richins on March 4, 2022 after getting a call about an unresponsive male. EMS attempted to revive Eric, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Kouri was later arrested and accused of killing her husband after allegedly procuring a fatal amount of fentanyl from an acquaintance.
In the months leading up to her arrest, Kouri had been busy promoting her children’s book, “Are You with Me?”, which came out on March 6, 2023 and — according to the Amazon listing — “gently guides children through the difficult experience of losing a loved one.”
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