SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On Monday, May 8, Kouri Darden Richins of Kamas, Utah, a mother of three who wrote a children’s book about coping with death, was arrested and faces charges an aggravated murder charge in the death of her husband, Eric Richins, in March 2022.
Not much is known about Kouri or if police have identified a motive that would support the accusations, but here is what we do know about the woman who has captured headlines nationwide.
Based on a will signed by Eric in November 2020 and obtained by ABC4, the pair were married for nearly nine years before he was found dead in their bedroom in March 2022. The two had three kids together, all sons, the oldest no older than 10.
Court documents show Kouri ran her own realty agency and Eric was the co-owner of a stone masonry company based in Utah.
The two reportedly signed a premarital agreement on the day of their marriage on June 15, 2013.
MOMENTS LEADING UP TO ERIC’S DEATH
According to a search warrant obtained by ABC4, Eric and Kouri had gone to Greece a few years before Eric’s death. After he allegedly became violently ill from a drink his wife had given him, Eric told a family member that he believed his wife tried to kill him.
Kouri allegedly attempted to kill Eric again, on Valentine’s Day 2022. The search warrant says Eric bit into a sandwich brought to him by his wife and he broke into hives and couldn’t breathe after one bite. He used his son’s epi-pen and took Benadryl before passing out for “several hours.” When he woke up, he reportedly called his business partner about the incident.
Eric had also reportedly changed his will and life insurance from Kouri to his sister. Eric was beginning to look to get a divorce from Kouri and wanted to make sure their three sons were taken care of.
According to Eric’s family, he never told Kouri that she had been taken out of the will. In addition, the two were reportedly arguing about a million-dollar-plus home that she wanted to “flip.” Eric’s family said he was planning on telling her that he was not going to sign the paper and finalize the deal.
Kouri allegedly attempted to change the life insurance policy to name her as the only beneficiary but a police search warrant reported that Eric’s business partner was notified by the insurance company and able to change it back.
ERIC’S DEATH AND THE MOMENT’S AFTER
A death certificate shows Eric Richins was found dead at around 3:22 a.m. in March 2022. An autopsy revealed he had died of an overdose of illicit fentanyl. The autopsy did not note the overdose to be a homicide.
On the day of Eric’s death, a search warrant says that Kouri Richins fell asleep with her kids in the next room in the afternoon and that she last saw him in the evening. When she lay in bed next to him, she said he was cold.
Kouri reportedly told police that they were “celebrating” the closure of the house and that Eric had taken a shot of alcohol and a THC gummy. An autopsy report showed Eric had over five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system, which was reportedly ingested orally.
In the aftermath of his death, Kouri Richins wrote a children’s book to help her and her sons cope with Eric’s death. A description of her book on Amazon – which has since been removed – read “[This book] follows the story of a child who has lost their father, but who is reminded that his presence still exists all around them, just like an angel watching over them.”
She had even met with Good Things Utah in April to speak about the book.
On May 4, 2023, days before she was charged with Eric’s murder, Kouri posted a video to her personal Facebook page. The video shows a slideshow of photos of her, Eric, and their children together.
“Life is just so damn hard without you here! The cards I have been dealt seem like a game that just can’t be played,” she captioned the video. She also included the hashtag #pleasecomehome.
AFTERMATH OF ERIC’S DEATH
In Eric’s will, he named his sister as the personal representative of his trust. A move that Kouri contested in a claim filed against the Trust filed in February 2023.
Kouri also set forth a claim totaling $3,641,549.28. According to the claim, her premarital agreement with Eric guaranteed her a $2 million ownership interest in Eric’s stone masonry company. She also claimed $1.3 million for their family home as well as money for mortgage payments, construction costs, and personal property.
Eric’s sister has since moved to disallow Kouri’s claims, arguing they are untimely and that there are one or more valid claims against Kouri regarding the will. His sister has also moved to gain guardianship over Eric and Kouri’s three underaged children.
On Monday, May 8, Kouri Richins was arrested and charged with aggravated murder and three counts of drug possession with intent to distribute.
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding Kouri Richins and the death of her husband, as well as plenty of ongoing legal disputes.
It should be noted that an arrest does not indicate guilt, and all persons accused of murder are presumed not guilty until proven so by a court of law.
Richins has a hearing scheduled for May 19. ABC4 will continue to follow and update this story as it develops.