Grief Author Kouri Richins Breaks Silence More than 2 Years After Husband's Death: 'This Means War'

Kouri Richins is accused of killing husband Eric Richins by lacing his drink with fentanyl

Kouri Richins and family
Kouri Richins and family

Kouri Richins, the Utah mom who wrote a book about grief after the 2022 death of her husband, is speaking out for the first time since she was arrested on accusations that she murdered him.

Richins, 34, stands accused of murdering 39-year-old Eric Richins on March 3, 2022, by lacing his drink with fentanyl.

After Kouri, who shared three children with her now-deceased husband, wrote her book, she said she did so to help the children cope with their grief.

She was arrested in May 2023. Now, in a series of jailhouse she provided through a spokesperson to NBC's Dateline ahead of Friday night's episode, Kouri reiterated her claims of innocence and alleged her defense team was "forced" to withdraw from her case.

Expressing her frustration over being “locked away from my kids, my family, my life,” she said it was “time to start speaking up” after a year of the “media telling the world who they think I am, what they think I’ve done or how they think I’ve lived," Kouri told the spokesperson in the recordings.

Related: Grief Author Kouri Richins Allegedly Texted 'Paramour' She Loved Him Hours Before Her Husband Died: Docs (Exclusive)

“You took an innocent mom away from her babies,” she said in the recordings. “And this means war.” 

Related: How Sisters of Utah Father Allegedly Poisoned By His Wife Pushed Investigation Forward: ‘Not Giving Up’ (Exclusive)

<p>Rick Bowmer/AP Photo</p> Kouri Richins

Rick Bowmer/AP Photo

Kouri Richins

Kouri's statements to the spokesperson addressed the unexpected quitting of the case by Kouri's defense lawyers. Kouri alleged her defense lawyers were "forced" to withdraw.

“[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,” Kouri said, per NBC.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Skye Lazaro, Kouri’s lead attorney, said in a filing their team was withdrawing from the case because of an unspecified “irreconcilable and nonwaivable situation,” the outlet reported. Lazaro’s team did not comment further on the issue on Dateline.

In the filing, cited by NBC, the defense team alleged that prosecutors listened to jail phone calls between Kouri and her attorneys that were recorded without their consent.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.