Utah grief author accused of killing husband with fentanyl asked brother to 'testify falsely,' state says

A Utah author on trial for her husband's murder after allegedly spiking a Moscow mule with a fatal dose of fentanyl is now accused of witness tampering, according to recently filed court documents.

Kouri Richins is specifically accused of concocting a false narrative by requesting that her brother, Ronald Darden, tell defense counsel a specific story in an attempt to link her husband's death to his alleged purchase of drugs.

Richins, who authored the book Are You With Me? to help children cope with grief a year after her husband’s death, was arrested and charged with killing Eric Richins at their home in Klamas, Utah, southeast of Salt Lake City.

Kouri Richins during a status hearing in Park City, Utah, on Sept. 1, 2023. (Rick Bowmer / AP file)
Kouri Richins during a status hearing in Park City, Utah, on Sept. 1, 2023. (Rick Bowmer / AP file)

Richins was arrested in May on charges of aggravated murder and other crimes. She is in custody at Summit County Jail in Park City, Utah awaiting trial.

During a search of the Richins' cell last week, a six-page letter, addressed to her mother, was found inside a book which instructed her to get the author’s brother, Ronald, “to testify falsely in this matter,” per a motion filed Friday by the State of Utah.

The motion requested no contact between Richins and her mother and brother.

“Here is what I’m thinking but you have to talk to Ronney,” Richins wrote about her brother Ronald. “He would probably have to testify to this but its super short not a lot to it.”

In the letter, Richins writes that the defense counsel intends to link her husband buying drugs and pain pills from Mexico to the fentanyl that caused his death.

No such link exists, according to the prosecution.

The letter goes on to describe an event that allegedly occurred a year before her husband's death where he told her brother that her husband "gets pain pills and fentanyl from Mexico." The letter also states that Richin's husband told her brother not to tell Richins "because I would get mad because I always said he just gets high every night and won't help take care of the kids."

Richins alleges in the letter that this conversation actually occurred.

The letter says that her brother can "reword this however he needs to" and instructs her mother to meet him in person to relay this information to him.

"Tell him I need him to do this," Richins wrote.

The letter also instructs Richins' mother to speak to a few of her friends about what they should mention during an upcoming "Good Morning America" interview.

"Please tell Chelsea to bring up that he hasn't been to church in the 13 yrs she has known him," Richins wrote about her husband, Eric. "And Eric would brag to her about how much he drank and did pills in high school."

"We're so close to the end, let's push through," Richins wrote.

The prosecution says Richins' letter shows that she's "willing to witness tamper through a third party."

"To protect the integrity of this proceeding, it is imperative that the Defendant have no contact with Lisa Darden or Ronald Darden while this matter is pending," the document states. "The Defendant's conduct in drafting and hiding the letter establishes her intent to witness tamper. Her reliance on Lisa Darden and Ronald Darden suggests their predisposition to tampering."

An attorney for Richins did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Richins was arrested and charged with killing Eric Richins last year during a quiet celebration at their home after she closed on a home for her business, according to authorities.

A medical examiner said Eric, 39, had five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system at the time of his death on March 4, 2022.

Lawyers for Kouri Richins have denied the allegations, saying in a June court filing that there “has not been a single text message or other document turned over in discovery to support the allegation that Eric ever believed Kouri attempted to poison him.”

The lawyers added there was “no substantial evidence to support the charges.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com