Kouri Richins, the grief author charged with murdering her husband, is now accused of witness tampering after a handwritten letter found in her jail cell included instructions about where her family should say her husband got the drugs that ultimately killed him, prosecutors said via FOX 13 Now.
Richins, 33, who faces charges of criminal homicide/aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, instructed her mother, Lisa Darden, to have Ronald Darden, Kouri's brother, falsely testify that Eric Richins got the drugs and pills found in his system from Mexico. The letter was found inside Richins' cell during a search that stemmed from a seizure she reportedly suffered after being given the wrong medication at the Summit County Jail for a sixth time, the Daily Mail reported.
The six-page handwritten letter included instructions for Ronald Darden to repeat, “Eric told [redacted name] that he got Pain Pills and fentanyl from Mexico from workers on the ranch," as well as, “[Redacted name] can reword [the narrative] however he needs to, but is super short not a lot to it." Lisa Darden was reportedly warned to only speak to her son about the matter in person as Kouri suspected her mother's home and phone were bugged.
Kouri also told her mother to have someone named "Lotto" contact her.
“Tell him do not text me anything about us doing things together ever! Like church, skiing, trips! Nothing that puts us together, it doesn’t look good,” Richins reportedly wrote via the Daily Mail.
“We’re so close to the end, let’s push through. Have the conversation with Ronney before he meets with Skye,” she added, referring to her attorney Skye Lozaro.
“Then tell him to tell Skye at the meeting about the conversation. Hang in there, we’re almost there. Love you to the moon,” Richins reportedly added.
Prosecutors claim that Richins held up a letter for her mother to read silently during a video conference last week, FOX 13 Now reported. Prosecutors said "it is imperative" that Richins is prohibited from contacting her mother after the letter was found as it constitutes witness tampering in a motion filed last Friday (September 15).
Eric Richins, 39, was reported to have suspected that his wife had attempted to poison him multiple times, was looking into a divorce and changed his power of attorney, his will and beneficiary of his life insurance from Kouri to his sister prior to his actual death on March 4, 2022.
"According to a sister, Eric and his wife went to Greece a few years ago and after his wife gave him a drink he became violently ill and called his sister saying he believed his wife had tried to kill him," the records stated via NBC News.
"On Valentine’s Day of 2022, his wife brought him a sandwich, which after one bite Eric broke into hives and couldn’t breathe. He used his son’s epi-pen as well as Benadryl before passing out for several hours," according to the records.
Two family members claim Eric told them he was worried that “Kouri would kill him for money and he wanted to make sure the kids were taken care of financially,” the records stated.
Greg Skordas, a spokesperson for the Richins family, said Eric stayed in his marriage for the sake of his children.
"They have three boys, three young boys, and I think Eric, being so involved in their lives as a soccer coach, baseball coach, basketball coach, wanted to keep the family together," Skordas said via NBC News.
Kouri Richins was arrested at her home in Utah on May 8 on accusations that she poisoned her husband with fentanyl prior to his death in March 2022, KUTV reported. Kouri was reported to have made Eric a Moscow Mule before bed in celebration of the closing on a house for her business.
An autopsy showed that Eric had died of an overdose of fentanyl, which had been injected orally. Kouri was reported to have fallen asleep with one of the couple's three children who was having a night terror and returned to her room at 3:00 a.m., where she found her husband and described him to police as being cold to touch during a 911 call.
Kouri claimed that she had left her phone in her bedroom prior to going into her child's room, but detectives confirmed that the phone had been opened multiple times during the span in which she entered the room and later claimed to have found her husband. Detectives also found that Kouri reportedly made contact with a person previously charged for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, which included texts sent between December 2021 and February 2022 to ask for prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury, which turned out to be hydrocodone pills.
Kouri then reportedly asked for fentanyl approximately two weeks later, claiming her investor wanted a stronger drug, which she described as "some of the Michael Jackson stuff." Eric reportedly "became very ill" during a Valentine's Day dinner three days after his wife reached out about the fentanyl, according to a probable cause statement obtained by KUTV.
"Eric believed that he had been poisoned," the statement reads. "Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him."
Kouri reportedly asked for more fentanyl and the source contacted a drug dealer in Ogden on February 26, 2022, days before Eric's death. Kouri Richins' book, Are You With Me? was published on March 5, 366 days after her husband was found dead and is described on Amazon as being "written to create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one and includes a dedication section that states: "Dedicated to my amazing husband and a wonderful father."