Kouri Richins claims letter found in jail cell was excerpt from book

Posted at 8:19 PM, September 19, 2023 and last updated 9:52 PM, September 20, 2023

By: Spencer Burt

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah (Scripps News Salt Lake City) — Kouri Richins, who is charged with killing her husband with a lethal dose of fentanyl, claims that a letter found in her jail cell is not witness tampering, but instead an excerpt from a book she’s writing.

Kouri Richins appears for a bail hearing

Kouri Richins, a Utah mother of three who authorities say fatally poisoned her husband then wrote a children’s book about grieving, looks on during a bail hearing Monday, June 12, 2023, in Park City, Utah. A judge ruled to keep her in custody for the duration of her trial. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Last week, Summit County deputies found a six-page, handwritten note to her mother, Lisa Darden, instructing her to have Ronald Darden, Richins’ brother, falsely testify that Richins’ deceased husband, Eric Richins, received drugs and pills from Mexico that caused his death.

In the letter, Richins says to instruct her brother to repeat, “Eric told [redacted name] that he got Pain Pills and fentanyl from Mexico from workers on the ranch.”


She also added that “[Redacted name] can reword [the narrative] however he needs to, but is super short not a lot to it.”

Richins’ attorney has filed a motion alleging that the state violated its gag order by filing the letter and that this information now taints the prospective jury pool and prevents Richins’ right to a fair trial.

New court documents obtained Tuesday state that Richins made a phone call to her mother on Saturday, in which she claimed the letters were part of a fictional book she’s writing about her stay in a Mexican prison.

“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 … I was writing this fictional mystery book,” Richins said in the call, according to a court filing. “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 … then I get in the Mexican prison … I said have Skye sneak me in some white strips because my teeth are getting yellow because all we do is drink coffee in the Mexican prison.”

However, the Summit County attorneys prosecuting the case say Richins’ attempt to challenge this new evidence doesn’t hold up. In their request to the court filed Tuesday, they wrote that Richins’ motion “contains factual errors and legal misunderstandings, rendering it unpersuasive at best.”

This story was originally published by Scripps News Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.