Kouri Richins, a Utah widow who authored a children’s book about grief after her husband’s death, has been denied pretrial release by a judge due to the substantial evidence against her.
Richins is accused of killing her husband, Eric Richins, and faces charges of criminal homicide, aggravated murder, and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute
During the court hearing, new details emerged about Richins’ alleged search history, with investigators pointing to searches for a “lethal dose of fentanyl.” Prosecutors allege that she killed her husband using fentanyl. The judge, Richard E. Mrazik, cited the severity of the charges and the dangerous nature of fentanyl as reasons for denying bail, emphasizing the potential for desperate acts by the defendant.
Prosecutors called expert witnesses to testify about the investigation into Richins’ phone records and financial history. The defense did not call any witnesses but argued that there was inadequate evidence to prove her guilt or establish a motive for the crime. Eric Richins’ sister, Amy Richins, made a victim impact statement, expressing her torment over her brother’s death and criticizing Kouri Richins for portraying herself as a grieving widow while allegedly attempting to profit from her husband’s death.
The court informed Kouri Richins of her right to file an expedited appeal within 30 days. The next court session, scheduled for June 22, will determine a date for a preliminary hearing.
The defense has claimed that there is no substantial evidence supporting the charges against Kouri Richins
The court documents reveal incriminating internet searches found on her phone, including inquiries about fentanyl, life insurance payments, police investigations, and data deletion from iPhones. Eric Richins was found dead in March 2022, and a year later, Kouri Richins published a children’s book on grief. Prosecutors allege that she withdrew money without her husband’s knowledge and tried to change a life insurance policy to benefit herself. They also point to alleged attempts to poison him.
Investigators revealed a series of illicit fentanyl purchases preceding Eric Richins’ death. The autopsy and toxicology report indicated a lethal dose of fentanyl in his system. The defense maintains that there is no proof of Kouri Richins administering the lethal dose.
The defense motion highlights discrepancies in witness testimony and alleges forged financial documents. A forensic document examiner identified potential forgeries in three documents related to the durable power of attorney and life insurance.