COURTS & LEGAL

Preliminary hearing in Kouri Richins trial delayed to mid-June

May 15, 2024, 12:58 PM | Updated: 1:02 pm

PARK CITY — A Summit County courtroom was filled Wednesday mostly by family members of Eric Richins there for a preliminary hearing for Kouri Richins, who is charged with murdering him.

A few members of Kouri Richins’ family were also in the courtroom, on the opposite side, where benches were available.

The hearing did not happen, however, after Kouri Richins’ attorney, Skye Lazaro, announced her intentions to object to all 18 exhibits brought by prosecutors.

Richins and her legal team in the courtroom.

Richins and her legal team in the courtroom. (KSL TV)

Deputy Summit County attorney Bradley Bloodworth said he was not prepared to argue about whether these exhibits were admissible. He said they had no advance warning; instead, it was “kind of the opposite.”

He said, “Most of this is obvious to anybody that has practiced law for a moment.”

District Court Judge Richard Mrazik said some of the “ambiguity” causing the delay was due to him not understanding the intentions of both the prosecution and defense. He said he would try to hold the hearing as quickly as possible because Kouri Richins is in custody.

“I need to move whatever I need to move to make this happen,” Mrazik said.

Woman accused of selling drugs to Kori Richins is being tracked but not charged

Lazaro said she wanted to continue with the hearing, though, and said her client had already waited “a substantial amount of time.”

Some of the exhibits are “1102 statements,” which are signed statements from witnesses that can replace an in-person testimony at the preliminary hearing stage of a case. If the judge does not agree to admit the 1102 statements, it could mean that more witnesses will need to testify.

After 15 minutes of working out scheduling, Mrazik ruled to turn the one-day hearing into a three-day preliminary hearing on June 18, 19, and 20 to give additional time should those witnesses need to testify.

“Some of this ambiguity was created in part by the court not understanding the parties’ positions fully. Not understanding their intentions fully. Not understanding who would be and would not be testifying today. Who might be offering testimony by written statement or not,” said Mrazik.

At the preliminary hearing, prosecutors need to prove there is enough evidence for the judge to order Kouri Richins to stand trial.

A filled Park City courtroom during Richins preliminary hearing,

A filled Park City courtroom during Richins preliminary hearing, (KSL TV)

Richins was arrested on May 8, 2023, over a year after her husband’s death. In March of this year, additional charges were filed. She is charged with aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder, first-degree felonies; two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of insurance fraud and two counts of mortgage fraud, second-degree felonies; and three counts of forgery, a third-degree felony.

A toxicology report showed Eric Richins died with five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system, but search warrant affidavits said there was no indication that he was a drug user.

After her husband’s death, Richins wrote a book about helping children deal with grief.

Detectives: Kouri Richins’ mother had a romantic partner who also died of ‘suspicious overdose’ in 2006

Contributing: Karah Brackin, KSL TV

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Preliminary hearing in Kouri Richins trial delayed to mid-June