Judge appoints public defender to represent Kouri Richins

Richins has been found indigent by the court

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — A public defender has been assigned to Kouri Richins, the Summit County mother accused of killing her husband with fentanyl.

Ray Quinney & Nebeker P.C., the law firm that had represented Richins since her arrest in May 2023, filed a motion on May 17 to withdraw its representation in her criminal trial, citing an “irreconcilable and nonwaivable situation.” The firm’s motion was granted by Third District Court Judge Richard Mrazik on May 20.

Richins’ previous defense attorney, Skye Lazaro, was ordered to represent her until she was appointed new council. Lazaro represented that Richins does not have access to the financial resources to retain private council, stating that she could not provide additional details regarding Richins’ financial state without violating attorney-client privilege.

The two indigent defense service providers that currently have contracts with Summit County could not represent Richins due to a conflict of interest. Instead, Mrazik appointed Salt Lake City-based attorneys Wendy Lewis and Kathy Nester to represent Richins as of May 23.

A preliminary hearing set for June 18-20 has been struck to allow Lewis and Nester to get up to speed with the case. A scheduling conference has been scheduled for June 21 at 3 p.m. at the Summit County Courthouse.

Richins currently faces 11 charges, including aggravated murder, attempted criminal homicide, arranging distribution of a controlled substance and mortgage fraud.

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