KAMAS, Utah (ABC4) — A Kamas woman who wrote a children’s book about coping with grief following the death of her husband was charged with murder Monday.
Kouri Richins was arrested on May 8 in Summit County for aggravated murder and three counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute. The alleged murder occurred on March 3, 2022. Kouri Richins’ husband, Eric Richins, died on March 4, 2022, his obituary claimed.
Eric Richins, 39, died “unexpectedly,” his obituary stated. He and Kouri were married for nine years and had three young sons together. The documents charging Kouri with murder were originally sealed, but have been unsealed.
On March 4, 2022, at 3:22 a.m., Eric Richins was found deceased at the foot of his bed. According to the charging documents, Kouri said that on March 3, at 11 p.m., they were celebrating her closing on a house for her business. She said she made him a Moscow Mule in the kitchen and brought it to their bedroom where he drank it in bed.
Kouri said that shortly after, she went to put one of her children to bed and fell asleep. She told police she woke up around 3 a.m. and felt that Eric was cold to the touch, and called 911.
She claimed that she left her phone plugged in in her bedroom while she was with her child, however, her phone showed it was locked and unlocked multiple times, and there was movement on the phone. There were also several messages sent and received during this time window, but those messages were deleted.
Following an autopsy, it was determined that Eric died from an overdose of illicit fentanyl. The medical examiner said the amount of fentanyl in his system was approximately five times the lethal dosage. According to the medical examiner, the fentanyl was ingested orally.
After the autopsy, a search warrant was obtained for the residence. Several computers and Kouri’s phone were seized as evidence. According to the charging documents, Kouri had contacted her friend several times asking if she could get a prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury. Some hydrocodone pills were left at a Midway house that Kouri was flipping, and Kouri left cash for them.
Two weeks later, Kouri reached out to the same friend and asked if she could get something stronger — “some of the Michael Jackson stuff,” Kouri stated. She specifically asked her friend for fentanyl. On February 11, 2022, the friend gave Kouri 15-20 fentanyl pills, which Kouri reportedly paid $900 for.
A few days later, on February 14, 2022, Eric and Kouri had a Valentine’s Day dinner at their Kamas home, the charging documents stated. Shortly after the dinner, Eric allegedly became very ill and told a friend he thought his wife was trying to poison him.
Two weeks after this incident, on February 26, 2022, Kouri contacted her friend again and asked for another $900 worth of fentanyl pills. The friend left the pills at the same Midway house. Six days later, on March 4, 2022, Eric was found dead of a fentanyl overdose after consuming a THC gummy, and a shot of alcohol.
Prior to Eric’s death, he reportedly took Kouri off of his will and life insurance and put his sister on it. He allegedly told his sister he was looking to get a divorce from Kouri.
Kouri also allegedly attempted to change the life insurance policy to put her as the only beneficiary, but they were able to change it back. She has also set forth several claims totaling over $3 million for part of Eric’s company, as well as money for mortgage payments, construction costs, and personal property.
According to court records, Eric’s sister has filed for guardianship of Kouri and Eric’s young kids, and has moved to disallow Kouri’s claims.
Kouri Richins met with Good Things Utah in April of this year to speak about the book she wrote in helping kids deal with grief. The book focuses on how to cope with the loss of a loved one and it was released after the death of her husband.
In the description of her book on Amazon, it said, “[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.”
While learning to navigate the grief of her husband’s death, Kouri said she wrote the book because she needed a distraction and a way to channel her family’s feelings.
Her next hearing is scheduled for May 19.
A search warrant was unsealed which included more details on Kouri’s alleged past attempts to poison her husband, which can be found here.