The blog is about is the murder of Eric Richins, allegedly killed by his wife Kouri.
Eric was from a very prominent Utah family.
The Richins family is one of the oldest and largest in Summit County, Utah. A notable member was Sheldon Richins, for whom Summit County’s Richins Building in Kimball Junction is named.
Eric was born on May 13, 1982 in Bountiful, Utah to Gene and Linda Richins. He had two sisters – Katie and Amy.
This information about Eric is from his obituary:
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. At an early age, Eric learned the joys of keeping horses and cows around. He spent countless hours helping his dad work the ranch, hauling hay, feeding the animals, and mending fences. He loved his family unconditionally, and was a devoted son, brother, and uncle.
Eric was a family man, who always strove to be the absolute best father and husband. He was an attentive and loving father to his three sons Carter (9), Ashton (7), and Weston (5), and a devoted husband to the love of his life, and wife of nine years, Kouri (Darden) Richins. Eric did absolutely everything in his power to provide his family with every possible opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun.
Growing up Eric was a serious athlete and loved all sports, whether it was watching them or playing them. He was involved in cross country, basketball, baseball, and soccer. He was also the coach or assistant coach on all his boys’ teams. He spent countless hours coaching and teaching the boys to “play aggressive” and “give it their all!” Eric truly cared about every single child he coached and wanted the absolute best for all of them.
Eric was an avid outdoorsman and dedicated hunter. He was an excellent archer and marksman, and had multiple trophy animals from all around the world including Africa, Mexico, Canada, and the United State.
Eric and his wife Kouri had been together for over a decade at the time of his death. A woman named Linda King told the media how Kouri met Eric while she was working as a Home Depot cashier.
“I said [to] go over there and check out with her, you know, so they did, and they ended up having a date,” said Linda. “From then on, they were like glued to each other. It was perfect, I thought.”
On the night of March 3, 2022, Kouri, Eric’s wife, said that they were celebrating a new home purchase. According to the probable cause document, Kouri made Eric a Moscow Mule and took it to their bedroom at around 9pm, where he drank it while in bed. An article by KPCW also says that he had a shot of alcohol and a THC gummy.
Before we move on with the story, I just wanted to address the house purchase. The KPCW says the house was a $2m purchase.
Some info about the house:
A massive 22,000-square-foot mansion between Heber City and Midway has been unfinished for more than five years. The home is a bit of an eyesore in the valley and has been somewhat of a mystery to locals for the past half-decade. The Wasatch County property sits on 10 acres and was first constructed in 2017.
In 2017, Doug Roylance, the previous owner, started building the house there. The 22,800 square-foot house, which Roylance had intended to use as a communal space for rent and usage, had been initially valued at $7.6 million. Roylance was constructing a dream home with eight bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, two kitchens, a swimming pool, a golf simulator, and a rock climbing wall.
Roylance eventually put the unfinished mansion on the market and relocated to Guatemala, where he operates a philanthropic organization. The 10-acre property was purchased by a young couple relocating to the Heber Valley in January 2022 after spending nearly two years on the market.
The couple had intended to finish construction and move into the home until the husband unexpectedly passed away shortly after closing the sale on the property. Understandably, the current owner, now widowed, has been preoccupied for obvious reasons and has not resumed construction. She has re-listed the house for sale at an asking price of $4.75 million.
Kouri alleges that she went to bed that night in their childrens’ bedroom and she woke up at around 3am and headed to her own bed. At this point, she realized that Eric was cold and not breathing and she called 911.
When fire and EMS arrived, Kouri told them she had been doing CPR on Eric but they thought this was unlikely due to the amount of blood coming from his mouth.
When they asked her where Eric’s medications were, Kouri said she didn’t know because “the maid just puts medications in random places.”
Police looked at Kouri’s story and her phone records. She told them initially that when she went to sleep in the child’s bedroom, she left her phone plugged in next to her own bed and did not take it with her. However, in the time between sleeping with the kids and calling 911, her phone was locked and unlocked multiple times and there was movement recorded on the phone. Messages were also sent and received during the time period – these messages were deleted.
Eric was declared dead and an autopsy was conducted. The levels of fentanyl found in his system were more than five times the lethal dosage. The Medical Examiner determined that the fentanyl was illicit and not medical grade.
Following an investigation of Eric’s gastric fluid contents, the ME determined that the fentanyl was ingested orally.
Police seized Kouri’s phone and computers from the house for investigation. Once they downloaded her data, they found communication between her and a person known in probable cause docs as CL.
CL has a police record -multiple counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute etc.
When detectives interviewed CL, they were told that Kouri contacted them at some point between Dec 2021 and Feb 2022 to ask for some prescription pain medication. Kouri said the medication was for an investor with a back injury.
CL gave Kouri some hydrocodone pills a few days later. Kouri told CL to leave the pills at a house that she was flipping. This property was owned by Kouri at the time.
Kouri contacted CL a few weeks later and said that her investor wanted something stronger ‘ some of the Michael Jackson stuff.’. Kouri specifically asked for fentanyl. CL contacted a dealer and managed to get 15-30 fentanyl pills, which Kouri paid $900 for on February 11, 2022.
On Valentines Day that year, February 14, Eric and Kouri had dinner at their home. Shortly after their dinner, Eric became very sick. He told a friend that he thought Kouri was trying to poison him. He broke out in hives and couldnt breathe. He passed out and had to use his son’s EpiPen and take benadryl.
Kouri got another $900 worth of pills from CL around 2 weeks later. These pills were left at a home she owned around February 26, 2022. Eric died from a fentanyl OD on March 4, 2022.
After Eric died, police interviewed his family. One of his sisters told police about an incident that occurred while he was on vacation in Greece a few years earlier. Kouri had given him a drink that made him violently ill. Eric told his sister that he believed Kouri had tried to kill him.
Police also looked into Eric’s life insurance situation. He had held a joint policy with his business partner Cody Wright – their business was called C&E Stone Masonry.
Around a month before his death, in January 2022, Kouri logged into the policy. She changed the policy and removed each of the men as the other’s beneficiary. She named herself as the policy’s only beneficiary. The insurance company notified the men of the change and they changed it back.
After this, Eric changed the beneficiary of his will and his power of attorney from Kouri to his sister.
A warrant states he didn’t tell Kouri about the change because, according to his sisters, he believed Kouri might “kill him for the money” and wanted their kids to be financially secure.
“While investigating the death I was told by Eric’s family member that they suspected his wife had something to do with his death,” an investigator wrote in the warrant. “They advised he warned them that if anything happened to him she was to blame.”
Warrants allege he was planning to file for divorce, but he died before any proceedings began.
Kouri learned on March 5, after Eric’s death, that she had been cut out of the will.
The warrant in this case says that Kouri “assaulted” Eric’s sister, who showed up to the home.
“Up until that point, according to the family, Kouri had no idea she had been replaced in the will and Eric’s sister was put in charge of his estate including the home which made her financially unstable,” the warrant states.
On March 28, a few weeks after Eric’s death, Kouri sued Eric’s sister for control over his estate. She claims their prenuptial agreement entitles her to the money, family home and other assets.
Eric’s sister’s response to Kouri’s lawsuit mentions a pending homicide case. It remains to be seen how a criminal case will affect the civil proceedings, but Utah does have a so-called Slayer statute, which prevents killers from profiting from their crimes.
More information also emerged about the house purchase they were celebrating. She wanted to buy it and flip it, but Eric thought it was too expensive. Eric had told family members he was going to tell Kouri they weren’t buying the house.
In March 2023, Kouri published a children’s book about grief titled ‘ Are you with me?’
She set up an interview with news agency KPCW to promote the book, which she said “was designed to offer comfort and solace to young minds.”
Eric can be seen on the cover with angel wings and a halo watching over their youngest child while they grow up.
She told KPCW in April that “Are you with me?” 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.”
During the interview, she disclosed plans to publish sequels. The next title in the works was “Mom, how far away is heaven?” as well as a book for young girls struggling with grief and husbands who lose their wives.
On Friday May 5, Kouri made the following FB post:
“Life is just so damn hard without you here! The cards I have been dealt just seem like a game that cant [sic] be played,” the caption read.
On Monday May 8, 2023, Kouri was arrested and charged with one first degree felony count of aggravated murder, as well as three second degree felony counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Judge Richard Mrazik has scheduled a detention hearing for May 19.
Just to note, Kouri’s book has been pulled from Amazon.