Kouri Darden Richins is a Utah mother of three and author of a children’s book on grieving who is accused of fatally poisoning her husband, Eric Richins, with fentanyl that authorities say was slipped into a Moscow Mule drink, according to court records.
Kouri Richins, 33, was charged on May 9, 2023, with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and three counts of second-degree felony possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, according to a Summit County, Utah, court docket. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance on May 19, 2023, for a detention hearing, records show.
Eric Richins died on March 4, 2022, at the age of 39, according to his obituary, which says he “made his last extravagant and largely unexpected gesture on March 4, 2022, signing off on a life, in his own words, ‘lived to the fullest and with few regrets.'” According to KPCW, the Richins family “is one of the oldest and largest in Summit County,” Utah. “A notable member was Sheldon Richins, for whom Summit County’s Richins Building in Kimball Junction is named.”
The Summit County court docket lists the date of the murder charge as March 3, 2022, with the drug-charge dates as January 1, 2022; February 11, 2022; and February 26, 2022.
“Life is just so d*** hard without you here,” Kouri Richins posted in a Facebook reel that showed photos of her with Eric Richins. “The cards I have been dealt seems like a game that just can’t be played.” She included the hashtag #pleasecomehome with Eric Richins’ name.
“My husband passed away unexpectedly last year,” Richins said during an appearance on a local television show to promote her new children’s book on grief, the video, obtained by Daily Mail, shows. “It completely took us all by shock,” she said, adding that “my kids and I kind of wrote this book on the different emotions and grieving processes that we’ve experienced the last year.” She said they hoped it could “help other kids.”
To help with grief, she said, she came up with a concept called the “three Cs,” defined as “connection, continuity and care.” She said in the video that it’s important that the deceased loved one’s “spirit is always alive in your home.” She said it’s important for her kids to know that “Dad is still here; it’s just in a different way.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Eric Richins Was Found Deceased ‘at the Foot of His Bed’ After His Wife Made Him a Moscow Mule, Authorities Say
According to the probable cause statement, Richins was also charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
The court records say that at 3:22 a.m. on March 4, 2022, Summit County sheriff’s Deputies and EMS staff responded to the couple’s residence in Summit County for a report “of an unresponsive male.”
They found Eric Richins “on the floor at the foot of his bed.” Life-saving measures were unsuccessful, the documents say.
During interviews with Kouri Richins, she stated that, at around 9 p.m. on March 3, 2022, she and Eric were “celebrating the defendant’s closing on a house for her business. Defendant stated that she made Eric a Moscow Mule in the kitchen and brought it to their bedroom, where Eric consumed it while sitting on bed,” the records say.
The only people in the house were Kouri, Eric and their children, according to the court documents, which say that Kouri told police she went to bed with one of the children in a child’s bedroom because “that child was having a night terror.”
She told police that she awoke around 3 a.m. and came back to her and Eric’s bedroom. “She felt Eric, and he was cold to the touch,” so she called 911, the court documents say.
The court documents say that an autopsy showed that Eric Richins “died from an overdose of fentanyl” that was “approximately five times the lethal dosage” and was “illicit fentanyl and not medical grade fentanyl.” The medical examiner believed it was “ingested orally.”
2. Authorities Say Eric Richins Told a Friend He Believed His Wife Tried to Poison Him on Valentine’s Day & Told His Sister He Believed She Tried to Kill Him With a Drink in Greece
A search warrant was obtained for the couple’s residence and electronic devices.
The court documents say that authorities identified a person named C.L. as an “acquaintance” of Kouri Richins who had multiple counts of drug dealing and paraphernalia charges in the past.
This acquaintance told police that between December 2021 and February 2022, the defendant texted C.L. and asked if C.L. could get the defendant “some prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury?” the court documents say.
C.L. obtained hydrocodone pills from a dealer, and Kouri Richins is accused of asking C.L. to leave the pills at a house she was “flipping in Midway,” the records say. She left cash, the court records say.
About two weeks later, she contacted C.L. again and asked for something stronger, specifically for “some of the Michael Jackson stuff,” asking for fentanyl, the records say.
C.L. gave Kouri Richins 15-30 fentanyl pills and delivered them to her for $900, the documents say.
Three days later, on February 14, 2022, Eric and Kouri Richins had a Valentine’s Day dinner together, and Eric became “very ill” shortly after the dinner, according to the court records. He “believed that he had been poisoned. Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him,” the records show.
About two weeks later, Kouri Richins contacted C.L. again asking for another $900 of fentanyl pills, which C.L. procured, leaving them at an outdoor fire pit of the Midway home, the records say. On March 4, 2022, Eric was found dead of the fentanyl overdose.
Kouri Richins told police she left her phone behind in the couple’s bedroom while she was in a child’s bedroom the night her husband died, but phone records indicated that messages were being deleted and there was movement on the phone, the court records say.
According to KPCW, warrants also indicate that Eric’s family members told investigators that they believed Kouri killed him and “he warned them that if anything happened to him, she was to blame.” Furthermore, fire and EMS first responders questioned Kouri’s claim that she performed CPR on him, the station reported, and said she told them she did not know where Eric’s medications were because “the maid just puts medications in random places.” She also claimed that her husband “had a pain pill addiction in high school but no substance abuse issues since,” the station reported.
According to KPCW, Eric Richins’ sister “told investigators he had called her a few years ago from Greece. While he and Kouri were on vacation, a drink she handed him made him violently ill. The sister alleged Eric believed Kouri had tried to kill him.”
The station also reported that Kouri Richins changed her husband’s life insurance policy in January 2022, removing his masonry business co-owner as a beneficiary and adding herself instead. According to the station, though, Eric Richins changed the policy to remove his wife and was planning to file for divorce. He told his sister he feared Kouri Richins would “kill him for the money,” KPCW reported.
According to KPCW, Kouri wanted to purchase a $2 million home to flip, but Eric disapproved, and she closed on the home the day after his death, even inviting friends over for what a search warrant called “a large party at her home where she was drinking and celebrating.” At the home, she “assaulted” his sister, KPCW wrote, citing a search warrant.
“Up until that point, according to the family, Kouri had no idea she had been replaced in the will and Eric’s sister was put in charge of his estate, including the home, which made her financially unstable,” the warrant states, according to KPCW, which added that Kouri Richins then sued her sister-in-law for control of the estate.
3. Kouri Richins, Who Worked as a Realtor, Wrote a Book About Grief That Says, ‘Whoever You Become, Their Love Remains With You’
As of May 10, Richins’ book, “Are You With Me?” was no longer available on Amazon.com. The book blurb says: “Wherever you go, whoever you become, their love remains with you.”
A heartwarming and reassuring book that gently guides children through the difficult experience of losing a loved one. Written by a loving mother who personally faced this challenge, this book is designed to offer comfort and solace to young minds in a way that is both accessible and engaging.
With vivid and colorful illustrations, “Are You With Me” 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. Whether it’s playing at the park or simply enjoying a quiet moment at home, the child is comforted by the knowledge that their father is always by their side.
As a book that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, “Are You With Me” is a must-read for any child who has experienced the pain of loss, and for parents who want to provide their children with the emotional support they need to heal and grow.
A story of hope, healing, and the unbreakable bond between parent and child…
The book was released in March 2023, about a year after Richins’ death. Kouri Richins appeared on television to promote it:
According to Mountain Express Magazine, Kouri Richins had also worked for her own realty company, although the website for it is now inactive. A cache for the website lists Richins’ name and says “dream home finder.”
In 2010, she registered a housekeeping company with the state called “Kouri Darden Housekeeping Services.” An old LinkedIn page says she also worked as an administrative assistant at a hospital and as an “Enhanced Patient Services and Specialty Clinic Trainer” at Park City Medical Center. That page says she has a master’s degree in Human Resources from Utah State University and a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Weber State University.
The couple owned multiple properties, online records show.
4. Eric Richins, the Husband of Kouri Darden Richins, Was Raised on a Family Cattle Ranch & Was Described as a ‘Family Man’
Eric Richins was born in Bountiful, Utah, according to his obituary, which says his “world revolved around his family, his love for hunting, the family cattle ranch, and his insane drive as a successful entrepreneur.”
“Being born into the Richins Legacy shaped Eric’s formative years and resulted in a lifetime of hard work, dedication, and fierce loyalty. Being the eldest was a dubious task, but he was up for the challenge and led and loved his sisters fiercely,” according to his obituary.
“At an early age, Eric learned the joys of keeping horses and cows around. He spent countless hours helping his dad work the ranch, hauling hay, feeding the animals, and mending fences. He loved his family unconditionally, and was a devoted son, brother, and uncle,” the obit says.
It calls Richie “a family man, who always strove to be the absolute best father and husband,” describing him as a father of three sons, ages 9, 7 and 5.
“Eric loved fully, laughed loudly, and lived life with reckless abandon. He enjoyed great adventures to far off places, but also cherished the small and finer things in life like his Under Armour sweat suits and spending time with his family and friends. No obstacle was too great for Rico, he simply viewed each one as a challenge. No peaks were too high and the next adventure was always just around the next bend,” the obituary says.
5. Eric Richins’ Obituary Calls Kouri Richins the ‘Love of His Life’ & Says He Worked as a Missionary Before Building a Masonry Business
According to Eric Richins’ obituary, he was married to Kouri (Darden) Richins for nine years. The obit calls her the “love of his life.”
“Eric did absolutely everything in his power to provide his family with every possible opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun,” the obit says.
It says that he was an athlete growing up, a coach to his boys’ teams, an “avid outdoorsman and dedicated hunter,” as well as an “excellent archer and marksman” who had hunted trophy animals around the world.
“There was never a dull moment when you were around Eric. Whether it be him showing up to a family dinner with no socks or sleeves on his shirt because he had to make an emergency bathroom stop along the way or his calling to tell you he rolled the four-wheeler for the umpteenth time, is stuck, and needs you to come get him,” the obit says.
The obit says that Richins was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who served a mission to Mexico City. “He built a very successful masonry business from the ground up and helped many friends do the same,” the obit says.
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