CRIME

Utah author arrested, accused of murdering husband

May 8, 2023, 6:04 PM | Updated: May 9, 2023, 12:16 pm

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — The author of “Are You With Me?” faces murder charges for the death of her husband, Eric Richins, in 2022, according to just-released court documents.

Kouri Darden Richins, 33, is facing first-degree aggravated murder and three second-degree felony charges of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.

On March 4, 2022, at approximately 3:22 a.m., Summit County first responders responded to an unresponsive man at a home near 280 Willow Court.

“When they arrived, they found Eric on the floor at the foot of his bed,” court documents stated. “Life-saving measures were attempted, but Eric was declared deceased.”

In a police interview, Kouri said that she and Eric were celebrating the closing of a house for her business before heading to bed. She said she made a Moscow Mule for Eric, and he drank it.

According to court documents, Kouri left their bedroom to tend to one of their children and ended up sleeping in the child’s room.

“(Kouri) said she awoke around 3 a.m. and came back to her and Eric’s bedroom. She felt Eric, and he was cold to the touch. That is when the defendant called 911,” stated court documents.

Kouri told police that she left her phone in their bedroom, but phone records show that her cell phone was active while in the child’s bedroom.

“In addition, tolls on the defendant’s phone show that messages were sent and received during that time. These messages were deleted,” according to court documents.

A medical examiner performed an autopsy on Eric and determined that he died from a fentanyl overdose.

The examiner’s report stated that the fentanyl was “illicit” and not medical grade. Eric had taken the fentanyl orally at approximately five times the lethal dosage.

According to court documents, police obtained a search warrant for Kouri’s phone and computers, which showed several communications with an acquaintance of Kouri.

Police found that the acquaintance had multiple counts of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and other drug-related charges.

On May 2, Summit County detectives interviewed Kouri’s acquaintance, and they said that Kouri asked for “prescription pain medication for an investor” sometime between December 2021 and February 2022. During that time frame, Kouri received the medication, according to the court documents.

“(Kouri) told (the acquaintance) to leave the pills at a house defendant was flipping in Midway, Utah. (The acquaintance) left the pills at the house, and the defendant left cash for them,” stated court documents.

The acquaintance said that Kouri contacted them two weeks later and said that her investor wanted “something stronger and asked for ‘some of the Michael Jackson stuff,'” specifically fentanyl.

In February 2022, the acquaintance contacted a dealer in Ogden, Utah, and got 15 to 30 fentanyl pills. Kouri went to the acquaintance’s home in Summit County and paid them $900.

According to court documents, Eric became ill after a Valentine’s Day dinner at the couple’s home. The victim believed Kouri had poisoned him, and he told a friend.

About two weeks later, Kouri contacted her acquaintance, who got her another round of fentanyl pills for $900.

“The defendant told (the acquaintance) to leave the pills at the outdoor fire pit of the Midway, Utah house where there was cash waiting for her,” stated court documents. A few days later, Eric died of a fentanyl overdose.

According to Eric’s obituary, he and Kouri were married for nine years and had three children.

After Eric’s death, Kouri wrote a book about losing him “unexpectedly” and processing the loss, according to a KPCW story. On Tuesday, Amazon pulled the book from its website.

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Utah author arrested, accused of murdering husband