This is harrowing…
A Utah widow who wrote a children’s picture book about grief in the wake of her husband’s death has now been charged with his murder!
According to KUTV, Kouri Darden Richins, of Summit County, Utah, was arrested on Monday after allegedly poisoning her husband, Eric Richins. He died in their home in Kamas on March 4, 2022.
Per officials, the 33-year-old has been charged with first-degree aggravated murder and three counts of second-degree possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute (GHB, a narcolepsy drug).
According to documents obtained by KSL-TV, police arrived at the family’s home at around 3:20 a.m. on the night of the murder to find Eric, 39, lying at the foot of the bed. The paperwork noted “life-saving measures were attempted, but Eric was declared deceased.”
Kouri allegedly told police she made her husband a Moscow Mule and served it to him in bed to celebrate his sale of a home for her business. She then went to lie down with one of her kids who was having a nightmare and fell asleep, claiming when she woke up at around 3 a.m. she found her husband passed out. The docs stated:
“(Kouri) said 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. That is when the defendant called 911.”
Per DailyMail.com, Kouri told police she performed CPR on Eric after finding him unresponsive, but medics who arrived on the scene said this was unlikely considering he was found with blood coming from his mouth.
Kouri even claimed Eric was addicted to pain medicine in high school but there were no substance abuse issues since then. Yet family and friends didn’t know anything about this and officers didn’t find any painkillers in the home. She then told police she left her cell phone in the couple’s bedroom for the night, but phone records revealed her device had been used several times in her child’s bedroom — including to delete a few texts! The files revealed per KSL-TV:
“In addition, tolls on the defendant’s phone show that messages were sent and received during that time. These messages were deleted.”
Hmm. That’s certainly suspicious. An autopsy later found Eric died of an oral overdose of fentanyl, with five times the lethal dosage in his system, per the medical examiner.
To make matters worse, the court docs stated police obtained a search warrant for Kouri’s phone and computers which helped them find communications between Kouri and an “unnamed acquaintance.” On May 2, the investigators tracked down the acquaintance, who has faced multiple counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and other drug-related charges. They interviewed the person and were told the widow requested “prescription pain medication for an investor” between December 2021 and February 2022. The docs continued:
“ told (the acquaintance) to leave the pills at a house defendant was flipping in Midway, Utah. (The acquaintance) left the pills at the house, and the defendant left cash for them.”
On Valentine’s Day in 2022, Eric “became very ill” during a dinner, per a probable cause statement cited by KUTV. He reportedly passed out after using an EpiPen and taking Benadryl. The report claimed:
“Eric believed that he had been poisoned. Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him.”
One of his two sisters also told authorities he called her three years ago from Greece where he and his wife were on vacation after she gave him a drink that made him very ill. He also thought she had tried to kill him back then.
According to the police search warrant, in the weeks and months before Eric’s death, Kouri had tried to make herself the sole beneficiary of his life insurance policy. In January 2022, she even managed to change Eric’s joint life insurance policy, which he shared with his business partner Cody Wright, so she was the only beneficiary, but when the company reached out to the partners to confirm the change, they switched it back. Eric went on to change the beneficiary of his will and power of attorney to his sister without telling his wife because he was scared she might “kill him for the money,” per the warrant.
The acquaintance told investigators that Kouri later said her so-called investor wanted “something strong and asked for ‘some of the Michael Jackson stuff’” — in other words, fentanyl. A killer. Jeez.
On February 26, 2022, the acquaintance got 15 to 30 fentanyl pills from a dealer in Ogden, Utah, and promptly sold them to Kouri at her home for $900. Just over a week later, Eric was found dead.
What makes this case even more horrifying is the fact Kouri went on to pen a picture book titled Are You With Me?, which was meant to help kids cope with the death of a loved one. It was published almost a year after Eric’s death and she promoted it on a local TV station last month. On Amazon, it is described as:
“ written to create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one. It’s to reassure children that although your loved one is not present, their presence always exists and they walk through life with you as if they were here.”
She also dedicated it to her “amazing husband” and “a wonderful father.” While appearing on TV, she even described his passing as a “shock.” Via his obituary, they’d been married for nine years and shared three kids. The obit read:
“Eric did absolutely everything in his power to provide his family with every possible opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun.”
What a devastating case… Kouri remains in the custody of the Summit County Sheriff’s Deputies and is awaiting her next court appearance. If convicted, she could be facing death or life in prison without parole.
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