After her husband died last year, Kouri Richins, wrote a children’s book on grief. Now she’s being charged with his murder.
Kouri Richins, 33, was arrested Monday and is charged with one count of first-degree aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in connection with the death of Eric Richins.
The murder charges come months after Richins self-published “Are you with me?” – an illustrated storybook about a young boy wondering about his father’s presence in his life after the father dies.
Prosecutors allege that on March 3, 2022, Richins, 33, laced Eric’s drink with a lethal amount of fentanyl. He was pronounced dead hours later.
Richins told investigators she had prepared her husband a Moscow Mule that night to celebrate a real estate deal for her business. Shortly after he consumed the drink in the couple’s bedroom, Richins claimed she went to sleep with her child, who was experiencing night terrors. When she came back to their room, she said she found Eric unresponsive and “cold to the touch”.
Kouri Richins also told investigators that she had left her phone plugged in next to her bed and did not take it to her son’s room.
“However, between when the defendant said she went to the child’s room and when she called 911, the status on her phone shows that it was locked and unlocked multiple times and there was also movement recorded on the phone. In addition, tolls on the defendant’s phone show that messages were sent and received during that time. These messages were deleted,” court documents say.
An autopsy and toxicology report revealed that Eric Richins, had died of a fentanyl overdose five times the lethal dosage.
Investigators later obtained a search warrant and seized Kouri’s phone and several computers in their home. They discovered communications between Kouri Richins and C.L., who had an extensive police record that included drug-related offenses.
C.L. informed detectives that at some point between December 2021 and February 2022, Kouri contacted C.L. and asked for prescription pain pills for an investor. C.L. said they obtained hydrocodone and left the pills at a property Kouri was flipping. A couple of weeks later, Richins allegedly went to C.L.’s house around February 11 and paid $900 for “15-30 fentanyl pills” that C.L. had obtained from a dealer.
About two weeks after buying the fentanyl pills, on February 26, she allegedly reached out to C.L. for more fentanyl pills. C.L. left them at an outdoor fire pit at the same property where the hydrocodone had been delivered. Again, the money was left there for pickup. By this time, according to court documents, Kouri Richins no longer owned the property.
Six days after the alleged pill delivery, Eric Richins had died.
Citing a search warrant, KSL-TV reports Eric’s family suspected Richins was responsible for his death all along. “They advised he warned them that if anything happened to him, she was to blame,” the warrant states, per the station.
Eric’s sister also told investigators that Richins gave Eric a drink while the couple was on vacation in Greece a few years before his death. Afterwards, he became ill and he told his sister he believed Richins had poisoned him.
Kouri is now scheduled to appear at a detention hearing for her state charges on May 19.