PARK CITY, Utah (Court TV) — A transcript of a jailhouse phone call Kouri Richins made to her brother revealed more details about the book she claimed to be writing behind bars.
Kouri is charged with killing her husband, Eric Richins, by slipping a lethal dose of fentanyl into his drink. After her husband’s death, she wrote a children’s book about dealing with grief called, “Are You With Me,” which features a father wearing angel wings on the cover. Kouri and Eric shared three children together.
Prosecutors have accused Kouri of attempted witness tampering after finding a “Walk the Dog” letter in her cell. The six-page, handwritten letter — which had “Walk the Dog” written inexplicably at the top of it — included what appeared to be instructions to Kouri’s mother to give to her brother, Ronney Darden, about what to say in testimony.
In a responding legal motion, Kouri claimed the papers found in her cell were privileged communication with her attorney and denied that the letter was witness tampering. Instead, Kouri said the papers weren’t a letter at all, but actually a draft of a fictional book she’s writing. “I’m telling you this is insane,” she told her brother. “There was never a letter. There was never a letter in a book or an envelope.”
Court TV obtained the transcript of a phone call between Kouri and Ronney. In the call, Kouri tells her brother that she has had her communications limited as part of a disciplinary action because of the papers found in her cell.
Kouri: “It says: ‘Limit phone calls to voice only, and only handwritten letters out, 90 days.”
Ronney: “For what?”
Kouri: “Exactly. What does that mean?”
Ronney: “Doesn’t it, like — ”
Ronney: “You literally did not do anything. Like, what the hell are they disciplining you for?”
Kouri: “And then I’m on 30 days of lockdown 23 hours a day, no commissary.”
But Kouri insists on the call that the papers were part of a book, saying that while the initial part of the story was based on her reality, the latter part of the book was fiction.
“At the detention hearing, I actually get out and I’m on this mission to go to Mexico, to, like, find these pills, and, like — and I, like, called dad up, like — and I’m like, ‘Dad, you’ve got to come with me to do this.’ Like, it’s this whole fiction mystery book. And so, like, obviously it’s not real, like, when my dad — my dad has been dead for two years.”
Kouri accuses jail guards and prosecutors of selectively releasing portions of the letter that look incriminating, telling her brother that while only a few pages were released, she actually wrote much more.
“That’s what I’m trying to say. It’s a 65-page novel. They read the whole thing. And on the front of the novel — this is the worst part. On the front of the book, it literally says these are true events that have happened in my life but the… but the statements, the events, or this is surrounding it says something like, these are surrounding the events of my life, but the statements, the events, and the way that it plays out have been falsified for a fiction novel. It’s called To Hell and Back. None of this can be used against me. This is only a book.”
But prosecutors say it’s not a book — it’s a letter. And they have asked a judge to enact a protective order that would prevent Kouri to speaking with her family until the conclusion of her trial.
Kouri detailed the plot of her book to her brother on the recorded call, saying it featured her and her father traveling to Mexico, where they found a human trafficking ring in their attempts to investigate the source of the drugs that killed her husband.
Towards the end of the call, Ronney and Kouri have an exchange, but it’s unclear what they’re talking about.
Kouri: “And that thing you were looking for the other day, they did not do it. I’m telling you, it was not done intentionally.”
Ronney: “The thing I was looking for the other day?”
Kouri: “Yeah. The (inaudible).”
Ronney: “Oh, yeah. (Inaudible). Yep.”
Kouri: “It was never done. That specific thing was never done, and they made sure it was never done intentionally.”
Ronney: “Yeah, that is bonkers.”
The conversation then turns back to their mother, who was told by Kouri’s attorney that she’s no longer allowed to call the jail.
Kouri is due in court for a hearing to discuss the alleged witness tampering on Nov. 3, the same date on which she is due in court for two civil cases she’s facing from her husband’s family.