(Photo by Ian Forsyth via Getty Images)
OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 6:36 PM – Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Eric Richins, the husband of Kouri Richins, was discovered dead at the foot of their bed in March.
The wife and mother had handed her husband a celebratory Moscow Mule cocktail in their Kamas, Utah, home at around 9 p.m.
At about three in the morning, she laid one of their sons to rest in his bedroom before returning to discover her husband lying on the floor with pale, cold skin, she reportedly told police.
Kouri, 33, wrote a children’s book exactly one year to the day after her husband passed away, called “Are You With Me?” which touched on coping with sadness and grief after losing a loved one.
However, according to authorities, she had used a fatal quantity of illegal fentanyl to kill her spouse of nine years. She was charged this month with possessing a prohibited substance with the intent to distribute it, as well as three counts of aggravated murder.
Recently released public court records showed that the mother had made a series of illegal fentanyl purchases in the months before his passing. Kouri Richins reportedly acquired the pills from a friend named C.L., according to court documents.
The Richins had celebrated Valentine’s Day together with an in-home dinner a few weeks prior to her husband’s death.
“Shortly after the dinner, Eric became very ill… Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him,” court documents stated.
According to a search warrant affidavit, Kouri also attempted to modify his life insurance policy so that she would be the sole beneficiary.
Richins was detained on Monday after being taken into custody.
An autopsy and toxicology report showed that 39-year-old Eric Richins had overdosed on fentanyl and died. A medical examiner determined that he had almost five times the typical lethal dosage in his body.
The mother’s cell phone, as well as numerous computers from their house, were confiscated by investigators after securing a search warrant. According to court filings, they found conversations between Kouri Richins and her drug connection, C.L., who had a very lengthy police record.
Between December 2021 and February 2022, according to C.L., Kouri contacted him and requested prescription painkillers for an investor. Court filings showed that C.L. had claimed that he brought hydrocodone to a house that Kouri was flipping at the time, so he could drop off the drugs and pick up the money that she left there for him.
Ms. Richins contacted C.L. again a few weeks later and requested “some of the Michael Jackson stuff,” according to court records.
On February 11th, Kouri Richins is said to have allegedly visited C.L.’s home and paid $900 for “15-30 fentanyl pills” that he had purchased from another dealer.
On February 26th, around two weeks later, she contacted C.L. to request additional fentanyl pills. The drugs were dropped off by C.L. next to a fire pit outside the residence where the hydrocodone had been delivered beforehand. Once more, the cash was left for pickup. Court records state that Kouri Richins no longer owned the property at this point.
On March 4th, 2022, at around 3:30 in the morning, EMS staff and Summit County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of an unresponsive man at the couple’s residence.
Emergency personnel attempted but failed to revive Eric Richins. It had been six days since the most recent drop-off delivery of pills.
His wife provided detectives with her account of what transpired that evening. She said that she handed her husband a beverage in bed as the couple celebrated closing a sale on a house for her company. Their son was “having a night terror,” according to Kouri Richins, so she decided to sleep with him in bed.
“Defendant said she awoke around 03:00 hours and came back to her and Eric’s bedroom. She felt Eric and he was cold to the touch. That is when defendant called 911,” court documents stated.
According to the report, Kouri admitted to leaving her phone plugged in next to her bed, rather than taking it into 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 defendant’s phone show that messages were sent and received during that time. These messages were deleted,” court documents say.
Kouri had spent months writing her novel after her husband’s death. Last month, she even spoke about the value of her children’s book about sorrow and grief on “Good Things Utah,” a program on local television station ABC4.
The author stated that the book is founded on three concepts: “connection, continuity, and caring.”
“Connection: keep the person’s spirit alive who has passed… Continuity: try and keep routines and schedules as normal as possible… Care: affirming their feelings, understanding when they are sad, mad, lonely and talking about those feelings and letting them know it’s okay,” Kouri Richins said in the interview.
Kouri was detained in connection with her husband’s death just weeks later.
According to a search warrant affidavit from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the mother and wife had also attempted to modify a life insurance policy she had jointly purchased with her husband’s business partner two months prior to his passing, in order to make herself the sole beneficiary.
Ms. Richins “logged into Eric’s life insurance policy (buy/sell) agreement with his business partner and changed them from each other’s beneficiary to her as the only beneficiary,” claimed the documents.
According to the affidavit, the two men on the policy were informed of the modification by the insurance company and had the option of changing it back.
The investigator claimed that during an interview with Eric Richins’ family following his death, police enforcement discovered that he had personally told them that his wife would be to blame if anything suspicious were to happen to him.
The malicious mother and widow now faces 25 years to life in prison.
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