A Day After Husband's Death, She Was Found 'Celebrating'

Utah's Kouri Richins allegedly gave a lethal dose of fentanyl to husband Eric
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2023 8:16 AM CDT
A Day After Husband's Death, She Was Found 'Celebrating'
Kouri Richins at the KPCW studio in Park City, Utah, April 12, 2023. She was there for an interview about her children's book.   (KPCW.org via AP)

A woman who wrote a book to help children deal with the grief of losing a loved one has been charged with killing the father of her three children on the last of several alleged attempts to poison him over years. Kouri Richins, 33, told police she found husband Eric Richins "cold to the touch" on March 4, 2022. He died of a fentanyl overdose, with five times the equivalent of a lethal dosage in his system, per KSTU. A year later, Richins released the children's book Are You With Me? about a child who loses their father. The story—"dedicated to my amazing husband and a wonderful father," per CBS News—has taken on new meaning since Richins' arrest Monday on charges of aggravated murder and possession with intent to distribute.

Police say Richins, a realtor from Utah's Summit County, had asked an acquaintance to get her prescription pain medication "for an investor who had a back injury." After receiving hydrocodone pills, she allegedly requested "some of the Michael Jackson stuff" and obtained 15 to 30 fentanyl pills, per KSTU. Days later, after a dinner at home, Eric became "very ill" and "told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him," according to court documents. Richins requested and received another $900 in fentanyl pills about two weeks later. Her husband was found dead six days after that. Richins told police that she and Eric had been celebrating the purchase of a home that night, per KPCW.

She said she went to sleep with their children and found her husband cold to the touch when she returned to the couple's bedroom around 3am. Eric's family didn't buy that story. "He warned them that if anything happened to him, she was to blame," a warrant reads, per KPCW. One of Eric's sisters reported that her brother had called her a few years previously, complaining that he'd become violently ill after consuming a drink his wife gave him. In January 2022, Richins had also logged into an account and altered her husband's life insurance policy to make herself the sole beneficiary, according to a warrant. On Valentine's Day the following month, Eric suffered an allergic reaction after a dinner with his wife and passed out, court documents state.

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Family members said he ultimately decided to file for divorce and removed his wife of nine years as the beneficiary of his will and his power of attorney, replacing her with his sister. Richins only learned of that fact on the day following Eric's death. According to court documents, she "assaulted" Eric's sister when the woman showed up at the Richins home to find a "large party" where the newly-widowed Kouri was "drinking and celebrating" the purchase of a $2 million home. The sale had been closed that same day. Eric had refused to go along with the purchase, family members said, per KPCW. (More murder stories.)

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