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Children's Author Accused of Husband's Murder Took Out Millions in Life Insurance on Him Without Him Knowing, Prosecutors Say
Kouri Richins allegedly purchased $2 million in life insurance policies behind her husband's back before allegedly spiking his Moscow Mule with a lethal dose of fentanyl.
The Utah woman accused of fatally poisoning her husband reportedly purchased millions of dollars worth of life insurance without her husband knowing, according to prosecutors in the case.
Kouri Richins, 33, stands charged with the March 4, 2022, death of her husband, Eric Richins, 39, after allegedly lacing his Moscow Mule with fentanyl. In the wake of his death, she penned a children’s book about grief. Claims from Summit County prosecutors alleged the couple — who share three children — quarreled over Kouri’s desire to buy a $2 million Wasatch County mansion, a home Kouri closed on just one day after Eric’s death.
Now, updated charging documents filed with Summit County’s 3rd District Court state Kouri, a realtor, was millions of dollars in debt, according to NBC Salt Lake City affiliate KSL-TV. Investigators say Kouri purchased no less than four life insurance policies against Eric between 2015 to 2017, totaling $2 million, allegedly without her husband’s knowledge.
The policies came prior to Eric consulting divorce and estate attorneys in 2020 to alter his will, removing Kouri and transferring his estate to his sister for the benefit of the Richins’ three children, as well as bestowing his stakes in a stone masonry business to his business partner, according to KSL-TV.
Prosecutors believe Kouri purchased the life insurance policies without knowing the changes Eric made to his will, which was changed to the “Eric Richins Living Trust.”
However, Kouri allegedly knew of life insurance policies Eric and the business had against one another, and on January 1, 2022 — just three months before Eric’s death — she allegedly tried and failed to remove the business partner and add herself as the beneficiary of a $2 million policy, per the NBC affiliate. She did, however, file for a new $100,000 life insurance policy against her husband later that month and cashed in on it on Feb. 4, 2022.
The secretive financial dealings would set the stage for Kouri’s alleged first attempt to take her husband’s life, according to prosecutors.
On Feb. 11, 2022, Kouri allegedly made a $900 street purchase of fentanyl, just three days before she allegedly gave Eric a sandwich on Valentine’s Day, “which after one bite, Eric broke into hives and couldn’t breathe,” according to a search warrant cited by KSL-TV.
Eric’s sister also told authorities that Eric believed Kouri spiked his drink several years earlier while the couple was traveling in Greece, according to the search warrant. The sister said Eric became “violently ill” before calling her to say he believed Kouri was trying to kill him.
“They advised that if anything happened to him, she was to blame,” according to the search warrant.
On the night of March 3, 2022, Kouri told detectives she mixed a Moscow Mule for Eric to celebrate the closing of a house. Kouri said she left Eric in their marital bed with the cocktail before going to sleep with one of their children after they purportedly had a night terror.
Kouri said when she returned at around 3:00 a.m., Eric was cold to the touch.
Eric’s relatives immediately grew suspicious, claiming Eric had recently made statements that the purchase of the 20,000-square-foot Wasatch County mansion wasn’t happening. According to the Associated Press, the unfinished home boasted the potential for eight bedrooms and an indoor volleyball court.
On March 5, 2022, Kouri reportedly celebrated closing on the house by having “a large party… where she was drinking and celebrating.”
The updated charging documents state Kouri allegedly hired a locksmith to drill into her husband’s safe just two days after his death, taking a reported $125,000 to $165,000, according to KSL-TV. Court records state the sister challenged Kouri’s actions, resulting in Kouri allegedly punching the sister in the face and neck.
New reports also show that at the time of Eric’s death, Kouri allegedly owed nearly $190,000 in state and federal taxes, $1,847,000 to lenders, and an additional $514,346 to Eric, according to the update. The debt owed to Eric included a $250,000 line of home equity credit that Kouri spent, $100,000 taken from Eric’s bank account, $30,000 in credit card debt, and $134,000 taken from Eric’s business, the latter meant for taxes, according to the Associated Press. Kouri was allegedly confronted about the money and agreed to pay it back.
Kouri allegedly had a “lengthy” telephone conversation with the IRS just hours before Eric’s fatal poisoning, according to KSL-TV.
In the wake of Eric’s death, Kouri penned the children’s book “Are You With Me?” which she dedicated to her late husband. The cover features an illustration of a young boy playing soccer as a male angel seemingly cheers him on from the clouds.
“’Are You With Me' is written to create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one,’” it says on the book’s Goodreads page. “It’s to reassure children that although your loved one is not present, their presence always exist[s] and they walk through like with you as if they were here.”
Kouri was arrested at her Kamas, Utah, home on Monday, May 8, 2023, following a year-long investigation and charged with aggravated murder and possession of a controlled substance.
Eric’s sister maintains legal guardianship over the Richins’ children, with Kouri due back in court on June 12.