A Utah woman who recently published a children’s book on coping with grief — inspired by the death of her husband — was charged with his murder Monday May 8.
Kouri Richins, 33, who resides in Kamas, Utah, is facing a first-degree murder charge. She has also been charged with three second-degree felony charges of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, according to NBC affiliate KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, Utah. She could face life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted of murder.
Richins allegedly poisoned her husband, Eric Richins, with a lethal dose of fentanyl slipped into his drink, according to authorities. Eric had five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his body at the time of his death, according to medical examiners.
At the time of his death, May 4, 2022, Kouri told authorities that she had made him a mixed vodka drink to celebrate the purchase of a home. She put their children to sleep and upon returning to her and Eric’s bedroom, found Eric “cold to the touch,” prompting her to call 911. First responders attempted life-saving measures but Eric was declared deceased.
According to court records, Eric had told family and friends before his death that he believed his wife was trying to poison him. On Valentine’s Day while dining with Kouri, Eric became violently ill, breaking out in hives and having trouble breathing until he used his son’s EpiPen and took Benadryl.
Kouri allegedly bought $900 worth of fentanyl pills before their Valentine’s Day dinner, and later bought $900 more in pills before Eric’s death.
Investigators on the case found that the couple had argued about purchasing a $2 million home that Kouri wanted to remodel but Eric thought was too expensive. Although Kouri had told law enforcement officers the night of his death that she and Eric were celebrating the new home they bought, Eric had told family members they were not buying it.
In January 2022, Kouri attempted to change Eric’s life insurance policy and remove his business partner, Cody Wright, from the policy. She was unsuccessful in removing Wight and putting herself as Eric’s beneficiary. Eric went on to remove Kouri from his will and replaced her with his sister, although Kouri was not informed of this change.
On March 5, 2023, almost exactly a year after Eric’s death, Kouri published her children’s book Are You With Me? According to the book’s description, it is written “to create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one.”
She promoted the book in an interview with KPCW April 12 of this year, saying that: “It’s been a long, long year, a difficult year, and writing this book has brought peace to me and my boys.” She and Eric have three sons and had been married for nine years.
Kouri is scheduled to appear in court May 19 for her charges. Her attorney, Skye Lazaro, declined to comment on the charges.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues, here are some resources to help you cope.