Utah mother charged with husband’s murder after writing children’s book about grief

A Utah woman, Kouri Darden Richins, who authored a grief book for children following her husband’s death, has now been charged with his murder. The 33-year-old mother of three from Summit County was arrested for allegedly poisoning her husband, Eric Richins, in their Kamas home on March 4, 2022.

Kouri faces charges of first-degree aggravated murder and three counts of second-degree possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. On the night of Eric’s death, police found him unresponsive at the foot of the bed. Despite life-saving efforts, Eric was declared deceased.

Kouri initially informed police that she had made her husband a vodka-based drink to celebrate a successful home sale for her business. She then claimed to have fallen asleep with one of their children, who had experienced a nightmare. Upon waking, she discovered Eric cold to the touch and called 911.

Contradicting her statement, phone records revealed that Kouri’s phone had been used multiple times in the child’s bedroom, and messages were sent and received during this period, later deleted. Autopsy results showed that Eric had died from an oral fentanyl overdose, with a concentration five times the lethal dosage.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for Kouri’s devices and discovered communication between her and an unnamed acquaintance.

This individual, who faced multiple drug-related charges, told investigators that Kouri had requested prescription pain medication for an investor between December 2021 and February 2022. The acquaintance delivered the pills to a house Kouri was flipping in Midway, Utah, in exchange for cash left by Kouri.

Eric’s death was not the first time he had suspected Kouri of attempting to poison him. During a vacation in Greece years earlier, he had called his sister, claiming that Kouri had given him a drink that made him violently ill. In January 2022, Kouri had tried to make herself the sole beneficiary of Eric’s joint life insurance policy with his business partner, Cody Wright. However, the insurance company alerted the men to the change, allowing them to rectify it.

Eric subsequently removed Kouri from his will and replaced her with his sister. He did not inform Kouri of the change, fearing she might “kill him for the money” he intended for his children.

On Valentine’s Day, 2022, Eric fell severely ill, believing he had been poisoned. The unnamed acquaintance informed investigators that Kouri later requested “something stronger” and specifically asked for fentanyl. Kouri purchased 15 to 30 fentanyl pills from the acquaintance for $900 on February 26, 2022. A little over a week later, Eric was found dead.

Following Eric’s death, Kouri closed on a $2 million home and held a large party where she was seen drinking and celebrating. She later wrote a picture book titled “Are You With Me?” to help children cope with the death of a loved one.

Kouri and Eric had been married for nine years and had three children together. Eric had planned to file for divorce but died before initiating the proceedings.