The late husband of a Summit County murder suspect believed his wife tried to poison him multiple times before his death, court documents say.
Kouri Richins, a mother of three who has written a book aimed at helping children deal with the grief following the death of her husband Eric Richins in 2022, was found guilty in the 3rd Circuit Court Monday of a count of first-degree murder and charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance intended to distribute in connection with his apparent killing.
“During the investigation into the death, I was told by Eric’s family members that they suspected his wife of involvement in his death,” deputy attorney Jayme Woody wrote in a search warrant affidavit. “They told him that if anything happened to him, he warned them that it was her fault.”
The alleged poisoning began years ago on a trip to Greece, the affidavit said. At one point, Kouri Richins gave Eric a drink and he became “seriously ill.” Afterwards, Eric called his sister and said he believed Kouri tried to kill him, the affidavit said.
On Valentine’s Day 2022, Kouri Richins brought her husband a sandwich, “which after taking a bite, Eric developed a rash and couldn’t breathe,” according to the affidavit. Eric used his son’s EpiPen and Benadryl “before he passed out for several hours.” After waking up, he told a business associate what had happened.
According to a probable cause statement, deputies and first responders from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the Richins’ home around 3 a.m. on March 4, 2022, and found Eric on the floor at the foot of his bed. They attempted life-saving measures, but he was pronounced dead.
During interviews with Kouri Richins, the 33-year-old told investigators they celebrated closing a home for her business around 9 p.m. the night before, the document said. She made her husband a Moscow mule, which he drank in bed. Kouri fell asleep shortly after, she told police, and when she woke around 3 a.m., she found Eric feeling cold.
“The day after Eric’s death, Kouri locked the house alone,” the affidavit reads. “Later she invited her friends to a big party at her house, where she drank and partied.”
An autopsy and toxicology results revealed that Eric died of an overdose of fentanyl and that he had five times the lethal dose in his system. The coroner also stated that the fentanyl in his system was illegal fentanyl and not medical-grade fentanyl.
A search warrant seized Kouri Richins’ phone and several computers as evidence. Investigators found text messages on her phone with someone named “CL” asking if she could get prescription pain medication for an investor. A few days later, CL obtained hydrocodone tablets for Kouri to leave CL at a house in Midway that she was living at the time. Kouri owned the home from December 2021 to January 2022.
A few weeks later, Kouri Richins contacted CL again and asked about “some Michael Jackson stuff,” specifically fentanyl.
About two weeks later, on February 26, 2022, Kouri contacted CL again and asked for more fentanyl. Six days later Eric was dead.
Before his death, Eric Richins had changed his will and life insurance beneficiary from Kouri Richins to his sister. “He was seeking a divorce and wanted his children taken care of,” the search warrant affidavit said.
According to the family, Eric never told his wife that he had “taken her out of the will,” the document said.
According to the Utah Department of Commerce Real Estate Division, Kouri Richins has an active license as a real estate salesman. The company associated with their license is listed as Conrad Cruz Real Estate Services. The company declined to comment on Wednesday afternoon.
The children’s book Are You with Me?, written by Kouri Richins about grief, was released in March. The book was removed from Amazon’s website on Wednesday.
The book’s description, according to Google Books, calls it a “heartwarming and comforting book that gently guides children through the difficult experience of losing a loved one.”
“This book was written by a loving mother who met this challenge personally,” it continues. “It is designed to offer solace and solace to young people in a way that is both accessible and engaging.”
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.”
Noting that March 4th marked the first anniversary of his death, she added, “It completely shocked us all.”
“My kids and I wrote this book about the different emotions and grieving processes we’ve experienced over the past year … in the hopes that it can help other kids deal with it,” she said, “and kind of, you know, on those.” find happiness one way or another.”
An editor’s note was added to the interview’s website on Tuesday night, stating that Richins appeared on the show “a month before her arrest in connection with the murder of her husband.”
“At the time of airing, Good Things Utah and ABC4 had no way of knowing that she was a suspect in this murder,” reads the editor’s note. “We are leaving this post open as part of our transparency policy. However, we have removed links to purchase their product.”
Kouri Richins is currently being held in the Summit County Jail. A court hearing in the case is scheduled for May 19.
Correction • May 10, 3 p.m.: Story updated to correct the name of the facility where Kouri Richins is currently being held.