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Utah Woman Arrested In Husband's Murder After Writing Children's Book About Grief
Eric Richins allegedly suspected his wife was poisoning him and changed his beneficiary on his life insurance policy.
A Utah children's author who penned "Are You With Me?" — a book meant to teach kids about losing a parent — stands accused of dosing her husband with a fatal dose of fentanyl.
Kouri Darden Richins, 33, was arrested in her Kamas, Utah home on Monday and charged with aggravated murder as well as possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in connection to the death of her husband 39-year-old Eric Richins, according to The Guardian.
Prior to his death on the night of March 3, 2022, prosecutors allege the 39-year-old father-of-three suspected his wife was trying to kill him. Just weeks prior, he had an allergic reaction after his wife made him a Valentine's Day dinner, according to court documents reviewed by Law & Crime.
"Eric believed that he had been poisoned. Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him... he warned that if anything happened to him, she was to blame," charging documents read.
According to The Guardian, the 39-year-old broke out in hives and had trouble breathing until he took a Benadryl and used his son's EpiPen.
Just before the Valentine's Day incident, Kouri had purchased 15-30 fentanyl pills for $900 from an acquaintance in nearby Ogden referred to as "C.L." in the court documents cited by Law & Crime. She specifically asked the supplier for fentanyl — or, as she allegedly put it, "some of the Michael Jackson stuff."
Then, in March 2022, she again allegedly poisoned her husband.
“Defendant stated that she made Eric a Moscow Mule in the kitchen and brought it to their bedroom where Eric consumed it while sitting in bed,” documents read. “The only people in the house were defendant, Eric, and their children. Defendant stated she went to bed and shortly after went to sleep with one of the children in the child’s bedroom because that the child was having a night terror. 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.”
Kouri, a realtor, allegedly told Summit County Sheriff's Office detectives that she made him the cocktail on the night he died to celebrate her recent closing on a house.
Before Richins' death, according to the charging documents, he and Kouri had argued over purchasing a home for $2 million — Kouri wanted to remodel the house but Eric reportedly thought the venture would be too expensive.
The day after Eric's death, per charging documents, Kouri purchased the home in question and hosted "a large party... where she was drinking and celebrating." However, family members grew suspicious because, just before his death, Eric had told his family that he and his wife would not be purchasing the house in question.
Additionally, weeks before allegedly dosing Eric, Kouri reportedly attempted to make herself the beneficiary of her husband's life insurance policy, removing his stone masonry business partner Cody Wright. She was unable to do so.
Unbeknownst to his wife, Eric took her off his insurance policy shortly before his death, instead replacing her with his sister.
Before handing her phone over to detectives, investigators wrote in the documents, Kouri unlocked her phone several times and deleted messages sent between the window of time when she allegedly left her room to comfort her child and when she dialed 911.
Following her husband's death last March, Kouri went on to write a children's book, billed on Amazon as a "heartwarming and reassuring... must-read" for children "experienc[ing] the pain of loss" and parents "who want to provide their children with the emotional support they need to heal and grow."
“So my husband passed away unexpectedly last year, so it’s March 4th is our one year anniversary for us," Kouri said in an interview about the book that aired on ABC 4's 'Good Things Utah.' "My kids and I kind of wrote this book on the different emotions and grieving processes that we’ve experienced in the last year, hoping that it can help other kids, you know, with this and, you know, find happiness some way or another.”
The woman told the segment's hosts that she wrote the book so she would have "some story to read to [her] kids at night," and was inspired by "some things that [her] kids have said to [her] in the last year" since their fathers' death.
Kouri is scheduled to appear in court on May 19.