Before dying last year of a fentanyl overdose that prosecutors say was caused by his wife, 39-year-old Eric Richins was an avid outdoorsman and entrepreneur.
He was also a devoted father and husband, said Greg Skordas, a Salt Lake City attorney who serves as the Richins family spokesman.
“He hoped to keep his family together,” Skordas said. “He was hoping to keep his boys in a nuclear family and he was hoping it would all work out.”
“And he was very much in love with his wife,” Skordas continued, “although it was pretty obvious that she was trying to undermine him professionally and … he at least suspected she was trying to kill him.”
College and a new company
Originally from Bountiful, Richins attended Woods Cross High before graduating from the University of Utah, according to his Facebook profile. The university declined to comment but confirmed that he received a bachelor’s degree in 2011.
Two years earlier he had started a masonry business called C&E Stone Masonry with his business partner and close friend Cody Wright; The letters in the company’s name matched their own initials, according to a petition filed Wednesday in an ongoing probate case over Richins’ estate. The couple focused on intricate outdoor stone work, paving and tiling work in luxury homes, as seen on their Instagram.
Richins and Wright have taken out life insurance policies for each other, the petition states. Skordas said this is common practice when two people do business together. “It gives you the means to buy out the other party if they die,” he said.
Cody Wright referred the Salt Lake Tribune to Skordas for comment.
Marries Kouri Richins
On June 15, 2013, Eric Richins married Kouri Richins in the backyard of their Kamas home and they eventually had three sons, court records show.
But by 2016 at the latest, she stole money from him, according to the petition in the probate proceedings.
In order to be able to afford to switch houses and solve their ongoing financial problems, the petition alleges she has begun withdrawing money from his bank accounts without his knowledge and accumulating debt on credit cards in his name.
In 2020, Eric Richins learned that Kouri Richins had withdrawn at least $100,000 from his accounts and borrowed large amounts of money, more than $30,000, on his credit cards, the petition said.
Also in 2020, Eric discovered that Kouri had borrowed $250,000 using a fraudulent power of attorney and forged his initials on documents allowing her to act on his behalf, the petition said. When Eric confronted her, Kouri admitted to taking the money.
In January 2022, Kouri Richins secretly logged into Eric’s life insurance account and changed Cody Wright’s beneficiary to himself, the petition states, although Eric was notified of the change, changing it back to Wright’s name.
Kouri is also accused of raising at least $80,024 that Eric was supposed to use to pay his federal taxes and at least $54,322 in his state taxes — and may have raised even more money for a cause that “is yet to be discovered.” ” became. ‘ it says in the petition.
“There was no question that their marriage was on the brink,” Skordas said. “And we believe that’s why Kouri took some steps to manipulate her marital wealth. And we also believe that’s why she took his life.”
Eric was found dead at the foot of his bed on March 4, 2022. Kouri is accused of fatally drugging him after the two fell out the night before over a $2 million real estate deal that records say Eric believed would lose her money.
According to court records, Eric Richins believed his wife tried to poison him several times before his death, citing two instances prior to his apparently fatal overdose, in which Eric ingested something his wife had given him, which made him ill.
Being a father was ‘his favorite thing’
In an online obituary from 2022, Eric Richins is remembered as a hunter and hard worker who “spent countless hours helping his father with the ranch work, hauling hay, feeding the animals, and fastening fences.” repair”.
“He loved his family unconditionally and was a devoted son, brother and uncle,” the obituary reads.
Skordas described Richins as a “very generous man” who donated his time to coach his sons’ football, basketball and baseball teams and volunteered with Summit County Search & Rescue.
“Most of the time he just liked being with his boys,” said Skordas. “He just wanted to be a part of her life, which is why he was so active in her after-school activities. What he enjoyed was being a father. That was his favorite pastime.”
Eric Richins’ family continues to mourn his death, Skordas said. “But they also hoped that the truth would come out. And they’re still optimistic about that.”
Kouri Richins was charged May 8 in the 3rd Circuit Court on one count of first count murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in connection with the death of Eric Richins.
About a year after Eric Richins’ death and two months before her arraignment, Kouri Richins published a children’s book about grief called Are You with Me?. Since her arrest, the book has been removed from the Amazon website.
In April, Richins appeared on a segment of KTVX-Channel 4’s Good Things Utah to talk about the new book, sharing that her husband “passed away unexpectedly last year.”
Kouri Richins is currently being held in the Summit County Jail. A court hearing in the murder case is scheduled for Friday.