Eric Richins thought his wife was trying to kill him for months, possibly even years, well before his death from a fentanyl overdose last March — and his wife’s arrest for his murder earlier this week.
The couple took a trip to Greece a few years ago, family members told detectives investigating his March 2022 death, and he “became violently ill” after downing a drink Kouri Richins gave him, an affidavit for her arrest says.
He called his sister and told her what happened, including his suspicions.
In January 2022, Kouri Richins logged into her husband’s life insurance policy and changed the beneficiary from his business partner to her. She did the same for the business partner’s policy, changing the beneficiary from Eric Richins to her. The insurance company contacted the two men about the online change, and they quickly reversed the changes.
Two weeks before his death, on Valentine’s Day 2022, Kouri Richins made him a sandwich. “After one bite, Eric broke into hives and couldn’t breathe,” the affidavit says. He used his son’s EpiPen and Benadryl “before passing out for several hours.”
Afterwards, he told his business partner what happened.
‘He was looking for a divorce’
Days before his death, Eric made the biggest changes of all. He gave his sister power of attorney and cut his wife out of his will, leaving his estate — estimated at about $3.6 million — to his sister. He also named his sister the beneficiary of his life insurance policy.
“He was looking for a divorce and wanted his kids taken care of,” according to the search warrant affidavit.
And he didn’t tell Kouri what he’d done. Maybe he would have, but on March 4, he was dead.
Kouri Richins told investigators the couple was celebrating her closing on a real estate deal. She made him a drink, she said, and they went to bed. She spent part of the night with one of the children, who had night terrors, she said. When she returned to their bedroom, Eric was dead.
She closed on the house the next day anyway, and threw a large party to celebrate.
But as CrimeOnline previously reported, Eric had decided the house Kouri wanted to buy wasn’t a good deal and didn’t want to go through with it, a warrant says. And she didn’t learn she wasn’t inheriting Eric’s estate until his sister arrived at the house and told her.
Family said he’d told them if anything happened, ‘she was to blame’
“While investigating the death, I was told by Eric’s family members that they suspected his wife had something to do with his death,” Deputy Jayme Woody wrote in an affidavit for a search warrant. “They advised he warned them that if anything happened to him, she was to blame.”
Investigators began looking into the allegations. It’s not clear when she became aware of the suspicions cast on her. She has been battling with Eric’s sister for months over control of his estate, and almost a year to the day after her husband’s death, she self-published a book, “Are You With Me?” about coping with the sudden loss of a husband and father.
She planned a second book, to be released this month. But instead, Kouri Richins went to jail, charged with her husband’s murder and possession of drugs — the fentanyl she allegedly bought from an acquaintance to poison Eric Richins.
Investigators seized phones and computers from the home and determined that she had bought drugs from an acquaintance, identified as “C.L.” in the affidavit, on three occasions prior to her husband’s death. In January, she sought prescription pain meds for an “investor” and had C.L. leave hydrocodone in a house she was flipping in her real estate business. A couple of weeks later, she asked for something stronger — “some of that Michael Jackson stuff” — for the investor and bought fentanyl.
She bought more fentanyl on February 26 — six days before Eric’s death.
Kouri Richins is being held without bond. A hearing is scheduled for May 19.
This story was compiled from reporting by the Salt Lake Tribune, KSTU, and KUTV.
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[Featured image: Kouri and Eric Richins/Facebook]