A Utah mother accused of killing her husband, and then authoring a children’s book about grieving, took out millions of dollars in life insurance on him years before his death, prosecutors alleged.
According to updated charging documents obtained by The Associated Press, prosecutors said that Kouri Richins bought four life insurance policies on behalf of her husband, Eric Richins, without his knowledge from 2015 to 2017, including benefits totaling nearly $2 million.
The woman, age 33, is accused of poisoning her 39-year-old husband in March 2022 by lacing a Moscow mule cocktail with a lethal dose of fentanyl. She reportedly told investigators that she had found her husband unresponsive in the middle of the night, and earlier this month, she was charged with murder.
A statement of probable cause alleged that Kouri Richins had made previous attempts to poison her husband. He once became ill after she made him a drink while on vacation in Greece, it said, and he also became sick after eating a sandwich she made on Valentine’s Day last year.
According to court documents, investigators found messages that Kouri Richins sent to an acquaintance about obtaining drugs including fentanyl and “some of the Michael Jackson stuff,” presumably referring to the anesthetic propofol. Prosecutors allege that these substances were used in the attempts to kill her husband.
Before his death, Eric Richins reportedly planned to divorce his wife and changed his will to benefit a sibling rather than her. Three months before his death, however, Kouri Richins made herself the sole beneficiary, according to local news outlet KPCW.
According to the AP, Eric Richins met with a divorce attorney and estate planner to cut his wife out of his will in October 2020 after learning about financial moves that Kouri Richins had made without his knowledge.
These allegedly included her taking out a $250,000 home equity line of credit, withdrawing $100,000 from his bank account, spending more than $30,000 on his credit cards, and stealing $134,000 from his business.
Greg Skordas, a spokesperson for Eric Richins’ family, told CBS affiliate KUTV that despite his suspicions that his wife tried to poison him, the man likely wanted to preserve the relationship for his children.
“It appears Eric may have stayed in a relationship that wasn’t good because he loved his boys, and wanted to keep the family relationship together,” Skordas told KUTV. “Maybe he was hopeful things would change, but his number one concern was for his boys.”
After her husband’s death, the widowed mother of three self-published a children’s book about grieving the loss of a loved one. “Are You With Me?” follows the story of a child whose late father continues to watch over them after his death.
In an interview with local station ABC4 in April, Kouri Richins said she and her children began writing as a way to navigate life following Eric Richins’ death.
The new allegations in the updated charging documents have led her detention hearing to be rescheduled. She is next expected in court on June 12.
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