Eric Richins was worried that his wife might “kill him for the money” and told his family, one of the oldest and largest in Summit County, Utah, that if anything happened to him, she would be to blame.
His wife wrote a children’s book about grieving after his passing to help their three boys grieve. She has now been charged with his murder.
Kouri Richins, 33, was arrested Monday for the March 2022 murder of her husband Eric Richins. She is accused of having poisoned her husband with fentanyl at their home in Kamas, Utah – a small town in the mountains close to Park City, according to the Associated Press.
Prosecutors argue that Ms Richins made a late-night call to the authorities in March last year to say that her husband was “cold to the touch”.
Ms Richins told police that she made her husband a mixed drink using vodka to supposedly celebrate a recent sale of a home before she left to help one of their three children to sleep in their bedroom.
Five times the lethal amount of fentanyl found in husband’s system
She claimed that when she returned, she found him unresponsive and called the emergency services.
A medical examiner found that Eric Richins had five times the lethal amount of fentanyl in his system.
Ms Richins has been charged with murder in addition to allegedly possessing GHB. It’s a narcolepsy drug often used recreationally, such as at dance clubs, the AP notes.
The charges are based on the officers’ accounts of their interactions with Ms Richins as well as the account of an “unnamed acquaintance” who said they sold the fentanyl to Ms Richins.
Are You With Me?
The charges come two months after Ms Richins appeared on local TV to speak about her picture book Are You With Me? – which she authored to help children after losing someone close to them.
Ms Richins appeared on a segment called Good Things Utah, saying that the death of her husband was unexpected and describing how it adversely affected her and her three children – all boys.
She said that grieving for children was about “making sure that their spirit is always alive in your home”.
“It’s, you know, explaining to my kid just because he’s not present here with us physically, doesn’t mean his presence isn’t here with us,” she told the local TV station.
A police search warrant states that Mr Richins died on 4 March 2022.
‘He warned them that if anything happened to him, she was to blame’
The Richins family is notable in Summit County, according to KPCW. The Richins Building in Kimball Junction was named after one member of the family – Sheldon Richins.
Members of Mr Richins’s family said not long after his death that they suspected his wife of having killed him. Warrants state that “he warned them that if anything happened to him, she was to blame”.
One of Mr Richins’s sisters claimed that he called her a few years ago when he was in Greece on vacation. He claimed that one of the drinks his wife had given him had made him very ill. The sister claimed that Ms Richins had made an attempt to take her brother’s life.
Changed life insurance beneficiary
A warrant also states that Ms Richins was caught changing her husband’s life insurance policy to make herself the only beneficiary.
On Valentine’s Day last year, less than a month before his death, Mr Richins had an allergic reaction after having dinner with his wife. He broke out in hives, was unable to breathe, and passed out after using taking Benadryl and using his son’s EpiPen.
According to court filings, Ms Richins had bought fentanyl pills for $900 a few days before the dinner. She asked for another $900 not long before Mr Richins’s death.
‘Kill him for the money’
Before he died, Mr Richins changed the beneficiary of his will and his power of attorney from his wife to his sister. A warrant states that he thought his wife might “kill him for the money”.
Warrants also state that Mr Richins was planning on divorcing his wife, but that proceedings had yet to start at the time of his death.
Ms Richins published the book on 7 March of this year, telling KPCW a few weeks later that it’s “designed to offer comfort and solace to young minds”.
Last month, she told KPCW that the book was inspired by her own kids’ questions.
“You know, ‘Is dad with us?’” she said. “Because they’re going through the sadness of knowing that he’s not here, presently.”
The Independent has reached out to Ms Richins’s attorney for comment.
‘Eric’s world revolved around his family’
An obituary for Mr Richins reads: “Eric’s world revolved around his family, his love for hunting, the family cattle ranch, and his insane drive as a successful entrepreneur.”
“Being born into the Richins Legacy shaped Eric’s formative years and resulted in a lifetime of hard work, dedication, and fierce loyalty. Being the eldest was a dubious task, but he was up for the challenge and led and loved his sisters fiercely,” the tribute said.