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Utah Children’s Book Author Breaks Silence on Accusations She Poisoned Husband: “This Means War”

“I’ve been silent for a year, locked away from my kids, my family, my life, living with the media telling the world who they think I am, what they think I’ve done or how they think I’ve lived,” Utah mom Kouri Richins told Dateline. “And it’s time to start speaking up.”

By Jill Sederstrom
Kouri Richins

Kouri Richins, a Utah mother accused of killing her husband and then writing a children’s book about loss, is proclaiming her innocence from behind bars as she declares “war” against prosecutors. 

“You took an innocent mom away from her babies,” she told Dateline True Crime Weekly in recorded comments passed to the podcast through a spokesperson. “And this means war.”

Why did Kouri Richins' attorneys quit?

The mom of three’s first public comments since her 2023 arrest came on the heels of a judge’s decision on Monday to grant Richins’ defense attorneys request to be removed from her case. 

Ray Quinney and Nebeker P.C., the law firm representing Richins, provided few details about why they were requesting the move, other than to attribute the decision in a court filing Friday to “an irreconcilable and nonwaivable situation” that developed as a result of some “civil cases in which the firm has been representing Ms. Richins” that imputed the whole firm, according to Utah station KSL.

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Richins told Dateline the loss of her legal team, which included former head defense attorney Skye Lazaro, has brought her “great devastation.”

"My defense team has been forced to withdraw from my case. Represented or not, we all know and should understand there’s only so much I can say. But what I will say is this withdrawal was not my choice. And it was not a personal choice of any counsel on my defense team,” she said.

Lazaro declined to comment on the situation to NBC News.

A photo of Kouri Richins at KPCW

The Accusations Against Kouri Richins

Richins stands accused of lacing her husband Eric Richins’ cocktail with a lethal dose of fentanyl in March 2022, along with taking out life insurance policies on him without his knowledge that totaled nearly $2 million, The Associated Press reports.

Prosecutors allege that at the time of his death, Kouri Richins owed lenders more than $1.8 million and was over her head after purchasing a large mansion she intended to flip. 

They believe her first attempt to take his life was in February of 2022 after she allegedly put fentanyl into his sandwich. When that failed, she is accused of slipping the drugs into a Moscow mule cocktail she gave him the next month. 

After his death, she published the children’s book Are You With Me? about a dad with angel wings who watches over his children in an effort to help her children cope with the loss. The book was dedicated to her “amazing” husband.

Richins, who continues to maintain her innocence, has now decided to speak out from behind bars, where she’s been held without bail since last year, in an attempt to take control of the public narrative forming against her.

"I’ve been silent for a year, locked away from my kids, my family, my life, living with the media telling the world who they think I am, what they think I’ve done or how they think I’ve lived,” she told Dateline True Crime Weekly. “And it’s time to start speaking up.”

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Shortly before her legal team requested to be removed from the case, Lazaro filed a motion asking the judge to disqualify the prosecution from the case, particularly chief prosecutor Brad Bloodworth.

They argued in the motion that Bloodworth had committed “severe violations that compromise the integrity of adversarial fairness” of the case, according to CourtTV.

Bloodworth was accused in the court documents of violating Richin’s attorney-client privilege by saving recorded jail phone calls between Richins and her legal counsel. 

In response, Bloodworth has said her attorneys refused to register and download an app that would prevent the calls from being recorded, arguing that as a result “it seems [the attorney] consented to the State maintaining the recordings.”

Bloodworth has also contended that prosecutors did not listen to the calls, according to NBC News.

Richins believes prosecutors are trying to “prolong” the case and “hide their corruption” — assertions Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson has denied. 

In her statements to Dateline, Richins contended that she was ready to go to court to prove her innocence. 

“Although I am extremely disappointed where we’re at right now with this case, I’m anxious. I’m anxious to prove my innocence. I’m anxious to get to trial," she said.

A new defense attorney has yet to be named to her case.

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