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Utah mom accused of poisoning her husband with fentanyl at a cocktail party took $2 million in life insurance policies from him


May 19, 2023

A Utah woman who allegedly injected fentanyl into her husband’s drink and then wrote a children’s book about grief after his death is now accused of secretly taking out nearly $2 million in life insurance policies for him.

The allegations against the woman, Kouri Richins, were raised in an amended court document filed Thursday that led to the postponement of a detention hearing originally scheduled for Friday.

Richins, 33, is charged with aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute following the death of her husband Eric Richins on March 4, 2022.

He was found unconscious in the bedroom of her home in Kamas, about 40 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, after she made him a Moscow Mule to celebrate a business deal. An autopsy and toxicology report found that she died of a fentanyl overdose, according to a probable cause statement.

Prosecutors said Richins slipped five times the lethal dose of fentanyl into the cocktail.

A year after his death, he published a book on grief titled “Are you with me?” to “create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one,” according to a description on Amazon. She dedicated the book to «my amazing husband and wonderful father.» It has since been removed from Amazon.

The court document filed Thursday alleges that in September 2020, Eric Richins discovered that his wife had obtained and spent a $250,000 home equity line of credit on their home in Kamas, withdrew at least $100,000 from their bank accounts and spent more of $30,000 on their credit cards.

Kouri Richins is also accused of appropriating distributions made from his business «for the purpose of making federal and state quarterly tax payments and not paying taxes,» the document alleges. The stolen tax payments totaled at least $134,346, he says.

Eric Richins confronted his wife about the money and she agreed to pay him back, according to the document.

Eric Richins.
Eric Richins.mortuary walker

The following month, in October 2020, Eric Richins consulted with a divorce attorney and an estate planning attorney, the document says. Unbeknownst to his wife, he changed his will, formed a living trust, placed his estate under the control of his sister Katie Richins-Benson and named the trust as the beneficiary of his $500,000 life insurance policy, according to the filing.

It further alleges that between 2015 and 2017, Kouri Richins purchased at least four life insurance policies for her husband totaling nearly $2 million. Eric Richins was unaware that he had purchased the policies, the document says.

Kouri Richins also allegedly changed a separate life insurance policy her husband had to include himself as a beneficiary. The policy had initially listed Eric Richins’ business partner as a beneficiary.

Eric Richins was alerted and was able to switch it back to his business partner, the filing says.

Rich of Kouri
Kouri Richins.KPCW.org via AP

The document also provided additional details about Kouri Richins’ alleged attempts to poison her husband with fentanyl pills she obtained from an acquaintance identified in court documents as CL.

Eric Richins’ family has said that she tried to poison him multiple times.

One such attempt occurred on Valentine’s Day 2022. According to the filing, Kouri Richins allegedly made her husband a sandwich and placed it on the seat of his truck with a love note.

«Shortly after consuming the sandwich, Eric Richins developed hives and shortness of breath,» he says. «Eric found his son’s EpiPen, administered it to him, and fell asleep.»

Eric Richins believed he had been poisoned and told a friend he thought his wife was trying to poison him, according to the document.

In late February 2022, Kouri Richins allegedly asked CL to get stronger fentanyl pills, the document says.

«CL initially stated that Defendant specifically requested ‘some Michael Jackson stuff’ during this fentanyl request, but later conceded that Defendant may have referenced Michael Jackson during her first fentanyl request,» he said. (Jackson died in 2009 at his Los Angeles home after receiving a lethal dose of propofol.)

CL obtained the pills for Kouri Richins, the document says.

A medical examiner said Eric Richins had five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system when he died and that it was «illicit» fentanyl, not medical grade. He is also believed to have ingested the drugs orally, according to the statement.

Days after her death, Kouri Richins allegedly had a locksmith drill into her safe that contained between $125,000 and $165,000 in cash, according to Thursday’s filing. When Eric Richins’ sister suggested that Kouri Richins should not touch the money, she allegedly flew into a rage and punched her sister across the face and neck.

The document alleges that on March 9 or 10, after her husband’s death, Kouri Richins told CL to leave more fentanyl pills in a campfire at a home owned by Kouri Richins.

Prosecutors said they needed more time to provide evidence related to the new allegations in the document, according to a motion filed Thursday.

Richins’ lawyers said they needed time to review the discovery and prepare for the hearing.

“The State modified the charging information and has not yet released supporting discovery,” Skye Lazaro, an attorney for Kouri Richins, said in an emailed statement. «Therefore, we could not be prepared to argue about the sufficiency of the evidence.»

The new detention hearing is scheduled for June 12.