Eric Richins

Ramina Shah

Date:

Friday, March 4, 2022

Crime:
Murder
Location:

Francis, Summit County, UT, USA

Age:

39

Occupation:

Entrepreneur, Stone Mason

Eric Richins' tragic murder and the subsequent arrest of his wife, Kouri Richins, have captivated public attention due to the dramatic twists and unsettling details. On March 4, 2022, Eric Richins, a businessman from Francis, Utah, was found dead from a fentanyl overdose. He had 15 ng/ml of the drug in his blood, approximately five times the lethal amount, and another 20,000 ng/ml in his stomach—enough to kill more than 6,000 additional people.

Eric's family had long suspected Kouri, particularly after a 2019 incident in Greece where Eric fell violently ill after drinking something she had prepared. He confided in his sister that he believed Kouri had tried to poison him. Growing increasingly wary, Eric changed his life insurance policy, removing Kouri as the beneficiary and naming his sister instead.

On the night of his death, Kouri claimed they were celebrating a property sale and that she had made Eric a Moscow Mule cocktail. She alleged that she found him unresponsive hours later and called emergency services. However, her actions—such as throwing a party the day after Eric's death to celebrate the property deal—fueled suspicions.

Kouri was arrested on May 8, 2023, when further evidence emerged. Investigations revealed she had purchased fentanyl pills weeks before Eric's death, ostensibly for an investor's back pain. Additionally, incriminating internet searches about poison and life insurance policies were found on her phone.

Kouri, who authored a children's book on grief after Eric's death, now faces charges of aggravated murder and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. The case highlights the disturbing potential for betrayal within a family and the extreme lengths someone might go to for financial gain.

Case Documents

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Premarital Agreement

June 15, 2013
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Insurance Policy Ending in 445

June 13, 2017
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Insurance Policy Ending in 487

October 20, 2017
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Revolving Credit Deed of Trust

March 19, 2019
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Estate Planning Worksheet

October 13, 2020
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Gordon Law Group Check

January 12, 2022
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Life Insurance – TruStage January 2022

January 28, 2022
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Insurance Policy Ending in 347

February 7, 2022
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Crime Scene Body Cam Transcript Excerpts

March 4, 2022
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Kouri Richins Voluntary Statement

March 4, 2022
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March 6 and March 9 Check Deposit

March 6 & 9, 2022
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Search Warrant of 282 Willow Court

April 11, 2022
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Letter to Sheriff’s Department from Attorney Skye Lazaro

April 14, 2022
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Transcript of Interview of Kouri Richins by Detective Woody

April 13, 2022
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Life Insurance Policy Ending in 750

June 9, 2022
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Email from Kouri Richins to Chad Hoffmeyer and Frank Root

April 19, 2023
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CL Violation of Drug Court Probable Cause Affidavit

April 26, 2023
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Search Warrant – Phone of KL

May 2, 2023
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Search Warrant – Phone of Lisa Darden

May 9, 2023
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Petition to Determine Disqualifying Homicide

May 10, 2023
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Third Amended Information

May 18, 2023
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State’s Expert Witness Notice 1 & 2

May 31, 2023
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State’s Expert Witness Notice 3

June 1, 2023
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Returns of Service for Subpoena Duces Tecums 1 Through 17

June 2, 2023
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Notice of Returns of Service for Subpoena Duces Tecums

June 5, 2023
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Notice of Return of Service for Subpoena Duces Tecum

June 7, 2023
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Affidavit Declaration of Brian Freckleton

June 8, 2023
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Affidavit Declaration of Kristal Bowman Carter

June 8, 2023
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Independent Forensic Laboratories – Initial Report

June 8, 2023
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State’s Bench Brief (Detention Hearing)

June 9, 2023
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Motion to Set Conditions for Release

June 9, 2023
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Defendant’s Response and Reply to State’s Bench Brief

June 11, 2023
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State’s Written Response to Defendant’s Motion to Set Conditions of Release

June 11, 2023
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Jail Incident Report

September 14, 2023
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Walk the Dog Letter

September 14, 2023
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Motion for No Contact Order – Lisa Darden

September 15, 2023
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Notice of Service of Subpoena Duces Tecum to Summit County Jail

September 15, 2023
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Motion to Enforce Order and For Contempt Sanctions

September 15, 2023
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Official Transcript of Electronic Records – Jail Call – Kouri Richins and Lisa Darden

September 17, 2023
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Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Enforce Order and for Contempt Sanctions

September 19, 2023
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Reply in Support of Motion to Enforce Order and for Contempt Sanctions

September 21, 2023
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Opposition to Motion for No Contact Order

September 28, 2023
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Reply in Support of Motion to Compel Good Cause Disclosures

October 27, 2023
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Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss Due to Prosecutorial Misconduct

October 31, 2023
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Search Warrant – Hidden Safe

October 31, 2023
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Motions Hearing – Minute Order

November 3, 2023
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Order Regarding Rule 16 Good Cause Review

December 5, 2023
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Official Transcript of Electronic Records – Jail Call – Kouri Richins and Lisa Darden, Call 1

December 18, 2023
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Official Transcript of Electronic Records – Jail Call – Kouri Richins and Lisa Darden, Call 2

December 18, 2023
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Official Transcript of Electronic Records – Jail Call – Kouri Richins and Donald Darden

December 18, 2023
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Minutes, Motion for Good Cause Disclosure

February 23, 2024
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Second Amended Information

March 25, 2024
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Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena Duces Tecum – Gordon Law Group

April 11, 2024
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Notice to Submit States Motion to Pre-Admit Exhibits for Preliminary Hearing

April 23, 2024
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Memorandum Opposing Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena Duces Tecum – Gordon Law Group

April 24, 2024
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State’s Bench Brief – Preliminary Hearing

May 13, 2024
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Notice of Objection to Exhibits

May 14, 2024
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Motion for Order Designating Attorney, etc.

May 17, 2024
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Motion to Disqualify Prosecution

May 17, 2024
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Motion to Withdraw and Appoint Counsel

May 17, 2024
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Notice of Withdrawal

May 17, 2024
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Minutes – Status Hearing

May 22, 2024
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State’s Ex Parte Motion for Extension of Time

May 23, 2024
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Order Granting State’s Ex Parte Motion for Extension of Time to Respond

May 23, 2024
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Statement of Discovery Issues – Subpoena to Utah Community Federal Credit Union

May 23, 2024
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Order Appointing Indigent Defense Counsel

May 24, 2024
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Notice to Ray Quinney & Nebeker Regarding Discovery File

May 24, 2024

Timeline

Marriage and Financial Struggles

June 15, 2013
Kouri and Eric Richins got married. They signed a prenuptial agreement that outlined several financial agreements, stating that Eric’s assets would remain his if they divorced, but Kouri could claim some assets if Eric died while they were still married.

Financial Misconduct and Fraud

2015-2017
Kouri allegedly purchased at least four life insurance policies on Eric’s life with aggregate death benefits of nearly $2 million without Eric’s knowledge.
March 2019
Kouri opened a bank account without Eric’s knowledge, obtaining a revolving line of credit and borrowing $250,000 using a forged Deed of Trust.
September 2020
Eric learned that Kouri had withdrawn $100,000 from his bank accounts, borrowed $30,000 on his credit cards, and borrowed money using a fraudulent Power of Attorney. Eric confronted Kouri, who promised to pay it back but never did. Kouri allegedly misused approximately $494,000 of Eric’s money. She also misappropriated tax payments totaling $134,346.
October 2020
Eric consulted a divorce lawyer and an estate planning lawyer. He changed his will, formed the Eric Richins Living Trust, and placed his estate under the control of his sister, Katie Richins-Benson, for the benefit of his three children. He transferred his partnership interest in his business to the Trust and designated the Trust as the beneficiary of his $500,000 life insurance policy instead of Kouri.
November 2020
Eric signed a will that included their three kids.

Insurance Policy Manipulations

January 1, 2022
Kouri allegedly changed the beneficiary of Eric’s $2 million life insurance policy to herself without authorization. The original beneficiary was Eric’s business partner, who was restored as the beneficiary once the change was discovered. Kouri also applied for a new $100,000 life insurance policy on Eric.

Attempts to Poison Eric

Late January 2022
Kouri contacted a friend to obtain prescription pain medication for an "investor with a back injury," acquiring hydrocodone pills.
February 11-12, 2022
Kouri asked the same friend for fentanyl, paying $900 for 15-20 pills.
February 14, 2022
After a Valentine’s Day dinner at their home, Eric became very ill after eating a sandwich made by Kouri and suspected he was being poisoned. He told a friend he thought Kouri was trying to poison him. Kouri allegedly called a local diner and paid $41.29 for the meal, and Eric had to use his son’s EpiPen and drink Benadryl after eating the sandwich.
Late February 2022
Kouri contacted her friend again for stronger fentanyl pills, specifically asking for “Michael Jackson stuff.”

Eric’s Death

March 3, 2022
Kouri claimed she and Eric were celebrating her closing on a house for her business. She made Eric a Moscow Mule, which he drank in bed along with a THC gummy.
March 4, 2022
Kouri claimed she woke up around 3:22 a.m. to find Eric unresponsive at the foot of their bed and called 911. An autopsy determined Eric died from an overdose of illicit fentanyl, with approximately five times the lethal dosage in his system. Details about that night differed between Kouri's statements and investigation findings, including inconsistencies in her phone activity and her claim of performing CPR.
March 5, 2022
The day after Eric's death, Kouri closed on the home alone and invited friends over for a large party at her home where she was drinking and celebrating.

Post-Death Financial Actions

March 6, 2022
Kouri drilled into Eric’s safe, retrieving $125,000-$165,000, and had an altercation with Eric’s sister regarding estate rights.
March 9-10, 2022
Kouri wrote a backdated check for $1,300 to obtain more fentanyl pills.

Legal Investigation and Arrest

July 15, 2022
Eric’s sister hired a private investigator to surveil Kouri.
November 15, 2022
Alec and Taryn Wright sued Kouri, alleging she sold them a mold-infested home, causing severe health issues.
February 2023
Kouri filed a claim against Eric’s trust, contesting his sister as the personal representative.
March 7, 2023
Kouri published a children’s book titled "Are You With Me?" about coping with grief.
April 6, 2023
Kouri discussed her book and her husband’s death in an interview, claiming his death was unexpected.
May 8, 2023
Kouri was arrested for aggravated murder and three counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute.
June 10, 2023
Kouri’s lawyers argued for her release, denying the allegations and claiming lack of substantial evidence.
August 18, 2023
The State of Utah announced it would not seek the death penalty in her prosecution, reducing the aggravated murder charge to a non-capital first-degree felony.
September 18, 2023
Prosecutors accused Kouri of witness tampering, citing a letter found in her cell instructing her brother to testify falsely about Eric buying drugs from Mexico.
September 19, 2023
Kouri’s attorneys claimed the letter was part of a fictional novel she was writing.
October 11, 2023
Kouri’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case based on the release of the "Walk the Dog Letter," claiming it violated a gag order.
October 12, 2023
Prosecutors requested the full "Walk the Dog" document, asserting it was not protected under attorney-client privilege.
November 3, 2023
Kouri’s motion to dismiss her trial was denied. The judge ruled that the case had already received extensive media coverage and refuted claims of a false narrative by the state.

Additional Charges

2023
Kouri now faces additional charges, including attempted aggravated murder for the Valentine’s Day poisoning incident, two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of mortgage fraud, two counts of insurance fraud, and three counts of forgery.

Defense Withdrawal

May 20, 2024
Kouri's defense team officially withdrew from representing her, citing an irreconcilable and nonwaivable ethical conflict. The court's approval for their withdrawal was private.

Public Comments and New Counsel

May 24, 2024
Kouri made her first public comments since being taken into custody, asserting her innocence and claiming the media had twisted the facts of the case. She appealed to the public to give her a chance to prove her innocence. She was appointed new counsel after her previous team withdrew.

Upcoming Hearings

June 21, 2024
Kouri, her new defense team, and state prosecutors are scheduled to meet before Judge Richard Mrazik to schedule a new date for her preliminary hearing and consider motions to disqualify state prosecutors and suppress the "Walk the Dog" letter.