Crucial Decision Made In Case Of Grief Author Accused Of Killing Husband

By Jason Hall

August 21, 2023

Photo: Kouri.Darden/Facebook

Kouri Richins, the grief author accused of murdering her husband, will not face the death penalty in the ongoing court case against her, prosecutors said in a notice of intent from the Summit County Attorney's Office filed with the court on Friday (August 18) and obtained by CNN on Saturday (August 19).

“This decision was made in careful consultation with Eric Richins’ father and his two sisters, who are Eric Richins’ personal representative and victim representative, respectively,” the notice stated.

The aggravated murder Richins faces in relation to the March 2022 death of her husband, Eric Richins, will now be handled as a noncapital first degree felony, CNN reports. Kouri was arrested 14 months after her husband was found dead and shortly after she closed on a home for her business. A medical examiner ruled that Eric had five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system when he died last year.

Eric was reported to have suspected that his wife had attempted to poison him multiple times, was looking into a divorce and changed his power of attorney, his will and beneficiary of his life insurance from Kouri to his sister prior to his actual death on March 4, 2022.

"According to a sister, Eric and his wife went to Greece a few years ago and after his wife gave him a drink he became violently ill and called his sister saying he believed his wife had tried to kill him," the records stated via NBC News.

"On Valentine’s Day of 2022, his wife brought him a sandwich, which after one bite Eric broke into hives and couldn’t breathe. He used his son’s epi-pen as well as Benadryl before passing out for several hours," according to the records.

Two family members claim Eric told them he was worried that “Kouri would kill him for money and he wanted to make sure the kids were taken care of financially,” the records stated.

Greg Skordas, a spokesperson for the Richins family, said Eric stayed in his marriage for the sake of his children.

"They have three boys, three young boys, and I think Eric, being so involved in their lives as a soccer coach, baseball coach, basketball coach, wanted to keep the family together," Skordas said via NBC News.

Kouri was arrested at her home in Utah on May 8 and charged with criminal homicide/aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, which stemmed from accusations that she poisoned her husband with fentanyl prior to his death in March 2022, KUTV reported. Kouri was reported to have made Eric a Moscow Mule before bed in celebration of the closing on a house for her business.

An autopsy showed that Eric had died of an overdose of fentanyl, which had been injected orally. Kouri was reported to have fallen asleep with one of the couple's three children who was having a night terror and returned to her room at 3:00 a.m., where she found her husband and described him to police as being cold to touch during a 911 call.

Kouri claimed that she had left her phone in her bedroom prior to going into her child's room, but detectives confirmed that the phone had been opened multiple times during the span in which she entered the room and later claimed to have found her husband. Detectives also found that Kouri reportedly made contact with a person previously charged for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, which included texts sent between December 2021 and February 2022 to ask for prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury, which turned out to be hydrocodone pills.

Kouri then reportedly asked for fentanyl approximately two weeks later, claiming her investor wanted a stronger drug, which she described as "some of the Michael Jackson stuff." Eric reportedly "became very ill" during a Valentine's Day dinner three days after his wife reached out about the fentanyl, according to a probable cause statement obtained by KUTV.

"Eric believed that he had been poisoned," the statement reads. "Eric told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him."

Kouri reportedly asked for more fentanyl and the source contacted a drug dealer in Ogden on February 26, 2022, days before Eric's death. Kouri Richins' book, Are You With Me? was published on March 5, 366 days after her husband was found dead and is described on Amazon as being "written to create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one and includes a dedication section that states: "Dedicated to my amazing husband and a wonderful father."

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