PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — A Utah woman who wrote a children’s book about coping with grief after her husband’s death, and was later charged with fatal poisoning, will appear in court Monday to determine whether she should be detained or to be held. a chance to post bail.
Kouri Richins, 33, is charged with murder and drug charges.
Prosecutors say in court documents she put five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in a Moscow mule cocktail she made for her husband, Eric Richins, amid marital disputes and fights over a multimillion-dollar mansion she eventually bought as an investment.
The mother of three has self-published an illustrated book about an angelic father who watches over his sons.
The case became a true crime fix when charges were filed last month, prompting people to study the children’s book and scrutinize comments she made while promoting it as a resource to help children grieve the loss of a loved one.
Prosecutors have sketched a photo of a conniving wife who weeks earlier attempted to kill her husband by lacing a Valentine’s Day sandwich with hydrocodone and repeatedly denied her involvement on the day of his death in March 2022, even telling police: “My husband is active. He doesn’t just die in his sleep. This is insane.”
In a motion calling for her release filed on Friday, Kouri Richins’ lawyers argued that the evidence against her is circumstantial because police never seized fentanyl from the family home. They also questioned the credibility of key witnesses who were expected to support prosecutors’ request to keep her in custody.
The lawyers said prosecutors “simply accepted” Eric Richins’ family’s story that his wife had poisoned him and worked backwards to support it “by spending about 14 months investigating and finding no evidence to support their theory.” .
The case has also thrown the spotlight on Kamas, Utah, a farming town in the back of the Wasatch Mountains near Park City, one of the American West’s premier destinations for skiing, hiking and outdoor recreation. The couple and their three sons lived in a new development in the town of Francis, about 50 miles east of Salt Lake City.
If the case goes to trial, it could hinge largely on an unidentified informant who prosecutors say sold Richins the drugs that medical examiners later found in her husband’s system.
Uploading of documents and warrants Detail interviews in which the informant said she sold Richin’s hydrocodone and fentanyl in the weeks and months before her husband’s death. Prosecutors say the timeline for the drug purchases matches Eric Richins’ death and their claim that his wife had made the sandwich weeks earlier.
After her husband survived the first alleged poisoning, Kouri Richins asked for stronger drugs, “part of the Michael Jackson stuff,” the dealer told investigators, prosecutors said. When the pop star died of cardiac arrest in 2009, medical examiners found prescription drugs and powerful anesthetics in his system, not fentanyl.
Charging documents suggest the case will likely revolve around financial and marital disputes as possible motives. The couple had argued over purchasing an unfinished 1,860-square-foot mansion nearby and discussed a divorce prior to his death, court documents show.
Prosecutors also say that before her husband’s death, Kouri Richins made major changes to the family’s estate plans, taking out life insurance policies for him with benefits totaling nearly $2 million.
They also allege that Richins took out and issued a $250,000 home equity line of credit, withdrew $100,000 from her husband’s bank accounts, spent more than $30,000 on his credit cards, and stole approximately $134,000 intended for taxes for its companies.
Some of the allegations are consistent with civil court filings filed in several cases following Eric Richins’ death, in which his blood relatives and widowed wife filed conflicting claims about how to split a masonry business with his former partner and whether Kouri Richins can benefit from a trust set aside for his relatives.
Greg Skordas, a victim’s attorney and advocate who works with Eric Richins’ relatives, said Richins’ three children are staying with a relative while their mother awaits her trial. Katie Richins-Benson, Eric Richins’ sister and the trustee of his estate, has filed for custody.