‘I feel drugged’: details emerge about Colorado dentist accused of poisoning wife
As James Craig’s wife lay dying in a hospital, two days before the Colorado dentist was arrested for her alleged murder, he made an unusual request of his church. He asked if volunteers from the local branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church, would be able to help clean and organize the basement and mudroom of his house.
The summons may have seemed a bit frivolous, but members of the church – aware that Craig’s wife and the mother of his six children, Angela Craig, had recently been struck by a sudden, unexplained illness – were sympathetic. Later people wondered if they had almost been unwitting accomplices to murder.
Related: ‘Heinous, calculated’: Colorado dentist arrested in connection to wife’s murder by poisoning
“It was an oddly specific request,” an anonymous source told the Daily Mail. “It’s quite common … for us to go into somebody’s house and help when there’s been a new baby or sickness, but the language of this request was so heightened.” Looking back, “I can’t help wondering if that was something Jim asked for knowing that it might be a crime scene later.”
Since Thursday, when Craig stood in an orange jumpsuit in a Centennial, Colorado, courtroom and was formally charged with first-degree homicide, more details have emerged about what police say was a plot to poison his wife’s protein shakes so that he could run off with a mistress.
The grim saga has unraveled what appeared to be a perfect middle-class idyll. To the outside world, James “Jim” Craig was a God-fearing man and upstanding citizen, with a 22-year marriage, big family, well-appointed suburban home, and prosperous dental practice. At Summerbrook Dental, “we try to be happy”, a beaming Craig said in a promotional video.
It was a house of cards, according to police. Craig was more than $2m in debt. He’d lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to bad cryptocurrency investments, a Ponzi scheme and gambling; his dental practice was losing $120,000 a month; and he was paying to fly his girlfriend back and forth to carry on their affair. He was party to three separate bankruptcy cases.
Craig’s home life was also a disaster. According to Angela’s sister, Toni Kofoed, he was addicted to pornography and had cheated on his wife multiple times. She’d repeatedly debated leaving him, but Craig always begged her back.
Serious red flags started around 2017, Kofoed has said. One day Angela began to feel as if she’d been drugged. She confronted Craig, who said that he’d been considering suicide and had sedated her so she couldn’t interfere.
In 2019, Craig invested more than a million dollars in a cryptocurrency that critics dubbed “fool’s gold”. He was also defrauded of $600,000 by an alleged Ponzi scheme.
At some point Craig began an affair with Karin Cain, a married orthodontist living in Texas whom he may have met at a dental conference. In November 2022, Cain filed for divorce.
Craig allegedly decided to murder his wife, who held three life insurance policies, by feeding her poisoned workout shakes. He searched the internet for topics such as “Is arsenic detectable in autopsy?”, “The top 10 deadliest plants”, and “How many grams of pure arsenic will kill a human?” according to an affidavit.
Cain was uninvolved in the alleged plot to poison Angela Craig, and appears to have believed that Angela simply fell ill.
On 6 March, Angela became faint and dizzy and was hospitalized. According to the affidavit, she texted Craig: “I feel drugged.”
Craig replied: “Given our history I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn’t drug you. I’m super worried though. You really looked pale before I left. Like in your lips even.”
On 9 March, Angela returned to the hospital. The same day, Craig allegedly ordered potassium cyanide from a scientific company, saying that he was a surgeon who needed it for a procedure.
During Angela’s five-day hospitalization, and at the same time as he was allegedly arranging for Cain to come to Colorado, Craig exchanged affectionate texts with his wife. “I just miss you and I want to be close to you,” he wrote. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too, baby,” she replied. “Thank you for handling so much. Maybe [the doctors] will figure me out tonight.” Later she added, “I hope you’re getting some sleep. I miss you.” She thanked him for taking care of her.
On 13 March, an office manager at the dental practice opened a parcel allegedly containing cyanide. Realizing that Angela’s symptoms sounded like those of cyanide poisoning, the manager alerted co-workers, including Craig’s dental partner, Ryan Redfearn.
Redfearn confronted Craig, who eventually “admitted the package contained potassium cyanide but claimed that Angela asked him to order it”, the affidavit said. Craig claimed that Angela, suicidal, had asked him to obtain the cyanide; he’d done so to mollify her, but “didn’t think she would actually take it”.
On 15 March, Angela was hospitalized for the third and final time. She had a seizure and was placed on life support.
On 16 March, acting on information from Craig’s co-workers, police executed a search warrant on the Craigs’ home. Investigators seized a water bottle, powder proteins, workout-mix shakers, a tablet computer and two bags of white powder.
Cain, who still believed that Craig’s wife was dying of natural causes, texted him: “I am so sorry for what has transpired this week in your world. […] This is so hard.”
On 18 March, Angela, 43, died. She left behind six children, three of them minors. Craig refused an autopsy, according to Angela’s sister. The next morning, police arrested him.
At his arraignment this week, Craig avoided eye contact with friends and family in the courtroom.
“You’ve known him 20 years,” Angela Craig’s brother, Mark Pray, told the Daily Mail, “and to see him here, under these circumstances, with what he’s been accused of … It’s hard to reconcile.” Angela’s family was “heartbroken”, he said. “I’m still trying to put into words what she means to us all.”