Records: Children’s book author tried to poison husband multiple times

Posted at 7:32 PM, May 9, 2023 and last updated 7:56 AM, May 19, 2023

By: Spencer Burt

KAMAS, Utah (Scripps News Salt Lake City) — Newly obtained court documents related to a Utah murder investigation reveal that the suspect’s now-deceased husband believed she tried to poison him before, and he changed his life insurance policy shortly before his death.

Kouri Richins, 33, was charged Monday with the murder of her husband, 39-year-old Eric Richins. Eric passed away in March 2022.

Eric’s cause of death was determined as a fentanyl overdose — with five times the lethal dosage in his system. Investigators learned that Kouri had purchased fentanyl pills just days before her husband’s death. She told police at the time of his death that she made him a mixed drink that night before they went to bed.

According to court documents, Eric believed his wife had tried to poison him multiple times before. Charging documents state that Eric and Kouri had dinner at their home about two weeks before his death, and he became “very ill” and believed he had been poisoned. “Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him,” the documents read.

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A search warrant from the investigation into Eric’s death detailed other similar instances.

“While investigating the death I was told by Eric’s family members that they suspected his wife had something to do with his death,” a detective with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office wrote. “They advised he warned them that if anything happened to him she was to blame.”

The detective said he was told that the couple were in Greece a few years prior, and Eric “became violently ill” after his wife made him a drink. He reportedly called his sister after that and said he believed Kouri tried to kill him.

Then, according to the search warrant, Eric broke out into hives and couldn’t breathe after taking one bite of a sandwich his wife gave him. The document says he used his son’s epi-pen and took some Benadryl, then passed out for several hours. He called his business partner after waking up and told them what happened.

Without telling Kouri, Eric changed his will and life insurance policy shortly before his death, making his sister the beneficiary instead of his wife.

The search warrant details a search of the Richins’ home that apparently did not turn up any signs of Eric possessing fentanyl or other narcotics. Investigators said there were no physical signs that Eric used drugs, nor any information from friends or family indicating that he used drugs.

On Monday, the same day as the charges were filed, a warrant was issued for Kouri’s arrest. She was booked into the Summit County Jail later that day. She was ordered by a judge to remain detained without bail, but she has a “detention hearing” scheduled for May 19.

This story was originally published on May 9, 2023, by KSTU in Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.