The Utah woman accused of poisoning her husband with a fentanyl-laced cocktail last year saw her detention hearing postponed on Friday after new allegations say she made multiple changes to the family’s financial structure in the years before Eric Richins’s death.
Kouri Richins, 33, would have made her first court appearance since her arrest earlier this month, but the hearing has now been rescheduled for June 12, KSTU reported.
She is accused of putting five times a lethal dose of fentanyl into a drink she made for her husband in March 2022, as CrimeOnline previously reported. She later self-published a children’s book about coming to terms with the death of a father.
According to charging documents updated on Thursday, Kouri Richins bought four life insurance policies for her husband without his knowledge between 2015 and 2017. The benefits totaled nearly $2 million, prosecutors say.
The documents don’t say when Eric Richins discovered the new policies, KSTU said, but they do say that he met with a divorce attorney and an estate planner in October 2020. That was month after he discovered other financial moves his wife made without his knowledge.
Among those changes: a $250,000 home equity line of credit which she spent; withdrawal of $100,000 from his bank accounts; adding more than $30,000 onto his credit cards, and stealing $134,000 from his business that had been meant for tax payments.
The documents say that she agreed to repay him more than $500,000 when he confronted her.
Prosecutors say Kouri Richins’s debts had a role to play
The new documents allege a further financial aspect to the murder, KPCW reported, which prompted her defense to request a delay in the detention hearing. Prosecutors say that on March 1, 2022 — two days before Eric Richins’ death — Kouri Richins owed nearly $200,000 in state and federal taxes and nearly $2 million to a lender. She spoke to tax authorities and the lender on the phone on March 3, the day her husband died.
Kouri Richins, a 33-year-old real estate agent, has been battling with her husband’s family over control of his estate since his death. Eric Richins told family and friends that he believed his wife was trying to kill him, especially after incidents in which he became seriously ill after eating or drinking something she made for him.
Then, earlier this year, he discovered that she had changed the beneficiaries of a life insurance policy he and his business partner held jointly. The partners originally named each other as the beneficiaries, but Kouri Richins allegedly deleted that and made the sole beneficiary herself. The insurance company alerted the two men to the change, and they corrected it. Later, just days before his death, Eric Richins removed his wife as beneficiary of his will and from his power of attorney and in her place named his sister, Katie Richins-Benson,
Richins-Benson was named the trustee overseeing his estate, and she has filed for guardianship of the Richinses three children. Greg Skordas, an attorney working with Eric Richins’s family, says the children are currently staying with an unnamed relative.
Kouri Richins claims that a pre-nuptial agreement entitles her to her husband’s assets should he die before a divorce. Richins’ family says that he was seeking that divorce at the time of his death.
According to KPCW, Richins learned her husband had cut her out of his will two days after his death when she hired a locksmith to drill into her husband’s safe to access the $100,000 she believed was there. It was then that Richins-Benson told her that Eric had changed his will. Richins was charged with assault and ultimately pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor.
In Utah, a convicted killer is barred from profiting from the crime in any way.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.
[Featured image: Kouri and Eric Richins/Facebook]