Kouri Richins files lawsuit fighting for dead husband’s assets

Posted at 4:38 PM, June 15, 2023 and last updated 8:40 PM, June 16, 2023


SUMMIT COUNTY, UTAH (Court TV) – A woman accused of murdering her husband with a lethal dose of fentanyl, then writing a children’s book on grief about the loss, has filed a lawsuit against her late husband’s estate.

Kouri Richins is charged with criminal homicide, aggravated murder and possession of a controlled substance in the 2022 death of her husband, Eric. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A house where Kouri Richins, and Eric Richins lived

FILE – A house where Kouri Richins and Eric Richins lived is shown, May 11, 2023, in Francis, Utah. Kouri Richins, the woman who wrote a children’s book about grief after her husband’s death and was later arrested on accusations of killing him. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The lawsuit is filed against Eric’s sister, Katie Richins-Benson, who is the personal representative of Eric’s estate. The lawsuit argues that Kouri has been kept from property that is legally hers, in the wake of her husband’s death. The two largest pieces of property Kouri has claimed ownership of are the proceeds of half of Eric’s business and their family home.

MORE: Utah children’s book author accused in husband’s murder denied bail

The lawsuit alleges that Kouri and Eric purchased the family home while they were engaged to be married on November 21, 2012. At the time, they purchased the home for $400,000 and each contributed separate funds to the down payment. The title of the home was placed in Eric’s name, while the utilities were placed in Kouri’s name. The lawsuit alleges that for the entirety of Eric and Kouri’s marriage, the utilities and mortgage were paid from their joint bank account, using marital funds. Kouri alleges that after her husband’s death, she continued making payments on the house and paid for insurance and all other necessary items with personal money.

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Kouri’s attorneys said in the lawsuit that improvements she and Eric made to the property have increased its value to “at least $1,900,000.” Part of the increase in value was attributed to a swimming pool, which was planned prior to Eric’s passing. Work was completed on the project after Eric’s death.

Kouri Richins appears in court for a detention hearing

Kouri Richins, a children’s book author accused of fatally poisoning her husband, appears in court for a detention hearing Monday, June 12, 2023. (Court TV)

Attached to the lawsuit is a prenuptial agreement signed by Eric and Kouri on their wedding day, June 15, 2013. The prenuptial agreement specifically addressed Eric’s ownership in a business, C&E Stone Masonry, LLC. The signed agreement said Kouri had no right or claim in the business unless her husband pre-deceased her, in which case his ownership stake would pass to her.

Prior to his death, Eric had expressed suspicion that Kouri was trying to harm him and had established the Eric Richins Living Trust, and assigned his business interest to the trust. However, Kouri’s attorneys argue that her pre-existing rights from the prenuptial agreement outweigh the change.

Katie sold Eric’s half of the business to his work partner for $2 million, which Kouri argues should be paid to her.

WATCH: Sister of Eric Richins Claims Kouri Richins Attacked Her

Prosecutors in Kouri’s case have pointed to finances as a potential motive for the alleged murder. In charging documents, investigators said that Kouri took out four life insurance policies on her husband without his knowledge from 2015-2017. Prosecutors also allege that Eric discovered his wife had taken out and spent a $250,000 home equity line of credit, withdrawn $100,000 from his bank accounts and spent more than $30,000 on his credit cards.

Eric’s other sister, Amy Richins, testified at a detention hearing on June 12, and delivered a victim impact statement where she said her brother died under “horrendous circumstances.”

“The thought of it is unbearable. I am haunted by the horror of it,” Richins said.