Kouri Richins claims ‘prosecutorial misconduct’ will prevent fair trial

Posted at 1:29 PM, October 12, 2023 and last updated 8:43 PM, October 16, 2023

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah (Scripps News Salt Lake City) — A Utah woman who is charged with murdering her husband in 2022 is claiming that she can not be given a fair trial, claiming “prosecutorial misconduct.”

Defense attorneys are asking the court to dismiss all charges against Kouri Richins, who is facing trial for allegedly killing her husband with a lethal dose of fentanyl.

Kouri Richins appears in court for a detention hearing

Kouri Richins, a children’s book author accused of fatally poisoning her husband, appears in court for a detention hearing Monday, June 12, 2023. (Court TV)

In the motion filed on Wednesday, Richins’ legal team mainly focused on the “Walk the Dog” letter — a six-page handwritten letter that prosecutors labeled in publicly available court documents as “witness tampering.” The Summit County Attorney’s Office claimed that the letter (which, for unknown reasons, had “Walk the Dog” written in large font on the top of the first page), included instructions from Richins to her mother, asking her to have Richins’ brother give false testimony.


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.” Richins has since claimed that this letter was not written to her mother, but rather part of a fictional book she is writing.

Richins’ latest motion claims that it was improper for the prosecution to call the letter witness tampering when they have not charged her with such an offense. It claims this would sway potential jurors, “such that a fair trial in this case is no longer possible.”

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Yellow envelope with handwriting on it and a small tear

A photo of an envelope was submitted as part of a motion by Kouri Richins’ defense to have charges dismissed. (Evidence Photo via Scripps News Salt Lake City)

The motion also claims that the letter was likely obtained in an illegal search. The police report used by the prosecutors claims that Summit County Jail personnel found the letter folded up inside a book. However, the defense counters that this was not the case — they say it was in an envelope titled “Skye Lazaro (Attorney Privilege)” and had no crease marks.

For these reasons, Richins’ attorneys are asking the judge to dismiss all charges against her. But if this request is denied, the defense requests that, the court alternatively move the trial venue to Salt Lake County, disqualify the Summit County Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the case, disallow the “Walk the Dog” letter from evidence, and ask the jury to “preclude consideration of the State’s false claim that Ms. Richins had engaged in witness tampering.”

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