Lawyers Ditch Utah Mom Accused of Killing Husband, Writing Children’s Book About Grief

Kouri Richins is accused of poisoning her husband in March 2022, then writing a lauded children's book about grief—and was charged with murder in May 2023. Her search history included insightful little nuggets such as "luxury prisons for the rich in America."

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Lawyers Ditch Utah Mom Accused of Killing Husband, Writing Children’s Book About Grief

The legal team for a Utah mom accused of poisoning and murdering her husband—then writing a celebrated children’s book about grief—is no longer representing her as of this week, citing an “irreconcilable and nonwaivable situation,” the Associated Press reports.

Kouri Richins is charged with murder for allegedly killing her husband, Eric Richins, by giving him a Moscow mule cocktail with fentanyl in March 2022. Richins was arrested in May 2023, months after self-publishing Are You With Me?, an illustrated children’s book to help kids navigate the loss of a close relative. The AP notes that the book was widely praised, prior to, err, everything that came out about Richins last spring.

This week, Richins’ legal team submitted a court filing asking to leave her case, and this request was granted by Judge Richard Mrazik in Salt Lake City after a closed hearing Monday, per the AP. One of Richins’ now-former attorneys, Skye Lazaro, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Jezebel about what the aforementioned “irreconcilable and nonwaivable situation” entailed. But it’s impossible to not have a few guesses!

In the weeks after Richins’ arrest last May, court documents showed a range of pretty unsubtle Google searches made on her phone, not the least of which included:

  • “can cops force you to do a lie detector test?”
  • “Luxury prisons for the rich in America”
  • “death certificate says pending, will life insurance still pay?”
  • “If someone is poisoned what does it go down on the death certificate as”
  • “How to permanently delete information from an iPhone remotely.”

The court documents also showed Richins’ communications with a drug supplier, as she asks for not just fentanyl but, uh, in her own words, “the Michael Jackson stuff.”

Around the time of Eric Richins’ death, Richins had just purchased a multimillion-dollar mansion, and conveniently opened several life insurance policies on her husband without his knowledge, totaling in about $2 million in benefits, prosecutors say. Richins also owed lenders more than $1.8 million and was being sued by a creditor.

Lazaro argued last year that this extensive evidence against her then-client was circumstantial—which, I suppose, is true in the same way that my credit card bill detailing dozens of wasteful DoorDash orders is also “circumstantial.” Who can say what any of this really means!

In the last year, Richins’ case has become the object of significant cultural fascination among true crime junkies. But for me, the most fascinating piece of all of this is that Richins seemingly managed to make all of these amateur mistakes in the Year of Our Lord 2022, when no fewer than a million true crime podcasts—not to mention decades’ worth of Dateline episodes—have modeled exactly what not to do… which she then appears to have done, almost bar for bar. But then again, of course, you could always just… not (allegedly) poison your husband!

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