Richins family spokesperson remembers man allegedly killed by children’s book author

Posted at 10:29 AM, May 12, 2023 and last updated 7:56 AM, May 19, 2023

By: Chris Arnold

SALT LAKE CITY (Scripps News Salt Lake City) — A family spokesperson and friend are speaking out after 39-year-old Eric Richins was found dead of a suspected fentanyl overdose last year.

On Monday his wife, Kouri Richins, was charged with aggravated murder in his death, a first-degree felony. She also faces three charges of possession with the intent to distribute.

Greg Skordas, a local attorney has been designated the spokesperson for Eric Richins family.

“This family kind of describes him as a very giving person, they sort of talk about him as a philanthropist,” said Skordas.

Skordas says Eric’s family described him as very generous, saying that was just his personality.

“He coached his boys and basketball and baseball and soccer and whatever he received from coaching, he donated back,” said Skordas.

When Eric died in March of 2022, his official cause of death was labeled as a fentanyl overdose, with five times the legal dosage in his system at the time.

“Everyone knew that he didn’t do opioids, he didn’t do drugs, he didn’t abuse controlled substances at all,” said Skordas.

Investigators later 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 on multiple occasions.

Two weeks before his death, Eric became very ill and believed he had been poisoned.

A search warrant from the investigation into Eric’s death points to other similar instances, namely one a few years prior.

A Summitt County detective says according to Eric’s sister, he and his wife went to Greece and after his wife gave him a drink, he became violently ill. He went on to say that Eric called his sister, saying he believed his wife had tried to kill him.

On Valentine’s Day of 2022, the detective says Kouri brought Eric a sandwich, which after one bite he broke into hives and couldn’t breathe. Eric used his son’s epi-pen, according to the detective, as well as Benadryl before passing out for several hours.

KTNV asked Skordas why Eric chose to stay in the marriage, after suspecting his wife might be trying to kill him.

“I mean, I can give you three good reasons that he stuck around and they’re all under the age of 10, He, he lived for his boys, he would have done anything for his boys,” said Skordas.

Linda King worked with Kouri at Home Depot about a decade ago and says Eric was a regular customer.

“He had the most wonderful laugh, I’ll never forget that laugh,” said King.

She says she even helped play matchmaker in getting the couple together.

“They were so much in love, I thought,” said King.

After learning that Eric died in 2022, King said she attended his funeral.

“I reached out to one of the guys that he knows and what I worked with him and I asked him, you know, I said, please, what happened? You know, he goes, he had a brain aneurysm Linda,” said King.

King says she was left in shock after hearing the news on Monday, that Kouri had been charged for allegedly killing her husband.

“It’s just hard to know that somebody like that could do something if it’s true,” said King.

Speaking on behalf of Eric’s family, KTNV asked Skordas what they hope happens next.

“They trust the justice system, they trust the integrity of the police and the prosecutor and just we’ll wait and see how the case unfolds,” said Skordas.

Kouri does have a detention hearing scheduled for next Friday, May 19.

KTNV reached out to her attorney by phone and email for comment but has not heard back at this time.

Kouri authored a book “Are You with Me?,” which, according to the description on Amazon, “follows the story of a child who has lost their father, but who is reminded that his presence still exists all around them, just like an angel watching over them.”

The book was released on March 7, 2023, a year after Eric died.

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