KAMAS, Utah (ABC4) — The Utah mother and author who has been accused of poisoning and killing her husband with fentanyl and then writing a children’s book about dealing with grief is set to appear in court in November.
On Friday, Nov. 3, Judge Richard Mrazik will hear a motion from state prosecutors to keep Kouri Richins from contacting her mother and brother while held in custody. Mrazik will also hear a motion from the defense to hold the state in contempt of court for allegedly violating a court gag order.
Since Sept. 15, state prosecutors and Richins’ lawyer, Skye Lazaro, have been in a contentious back and forth over a “Walk the Dog” letter correctional officers allegedly found in Richins’ cell.
The letter, which was written to Richins’ mother, Lisa, allegedly instructs her to tell her brother how to testify to Lazaro. The letter details a testimony claiming her brother would say her late husband, Eric, got drugs from workers in Mexico and not to tell Kouri. Kouri Richins said her brother shouldn’t “overanalyze” the story and the testimony should be just a “quick two-minute conversation.”
State lawyers claim the letter speaks for itself as evidence of witness tampering. The State said there has been no link showing Eric Richins got fentanyl in Mexico and called the testimony a “false narrative.” Kouri Richins’ defense said by submitting the letter state prosecutors violated a gag order issued by the court in June, claiming the filing of the letter was “improper on several fronts.”
“It was an extrajudicial statement made for the apparent purpose of influencing the court of public opinion,” Lazaro said in a motion for contempt. “Such behavior constitutes a blatant violation of the Gag Order, which the State requested in the first instance. The State’s intention was to improperly file the letter to taint the media, the jury pool, the public narrative, and has the added consequence of potentially tainting expected witnesses in this matter.”
The State argued the purpose of submitting and releasing the Walk the Dog letter was as an exhibit for its request for a no-contact order between Kouri Richins and her mother and brother, saying the State has an obligation to protect proceedings from witness tampering.
Kouri Richins herself claimed the letter was part of a fictional novel she has been working on about a “fictional stay in a Mexican prison,” according to court documents.
“You can very much tell that the whole thing is very much a story,” Richins said. “I said have Skye [Lazaro] sneak me in some white strips because my teeth are getting yellow because all we do is drink coffee in the Mexican prison.”
Judge Mrazik will hear the arguments from both sides in person when Kouri Richins appears in court again in Park City at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3.
You can read the full Walk the Dog letter by clicking here.
Charges are allegations only. All arrested persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.