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New charges: Utah mom charged with murdering husband also tried killing him on Valentine’s Day

Kouri Richins, charged with killing her husband, looks on during a bail hearing on June 12, 2023, in Park City. On Monday, new charges were filed accusing her of trying to kill him less than three weeks earlier on Valentine’s Day. | Rick Bowmer, Associated Press
PARK CITY, Utah (KSL.com) — A Kamas woman who published a children’s book dealing with the loss of her husband, whom she was later charged with murdering, now faces a new charge accusing her of trying to kill her husband weeks earlier — on Valentine’s Day.
Summit County prosecutors filed new charges against Kouri Richins, 33, on Monday, adding multiple charges for actions they claim occurred in the nine months proceeding Eric Richins’ death.
Now the charges against her include aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder, first-degree felonies; two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of insurance fraud and two counts of mortgage fraud, second-degree felonies; and three counts of forgery, a third-degree felony.
Kouri Richins was initially charged with aggravated murder and three counts of drug possession with intent to distribute on May 8, 2023, more than a year after her husband’s death.
She is accused of administering a fatal dose of fentanyl to her husband, Eric Richins, 39, on March 3 or 4, 2022, and is now also charged with giving a lethal dose of drugs to her husband on Valentine’s Day, less than three weeks before.
Attempted murder
Monday’s charging documents describe communications between the couple and communications between Eric Richins and two close friends on Valentine’s Day in 2022, including messages that Eric Richins “nearly died” that day.
Richins texted his wife at 11:33 a.m. and said he planned to lie down and indicated that if he didn’t start feeling better he would head to the hospital. Kouri Richins said, “Geez, it’s that bad? Need me to come home?” and encouraged him to take a nap, the charges state.
A few hours later, Richins asked his wife if she was home and said he had been sleeping in an office behind their house. She told him she was in Provo.
In the next hour, he told a close friend he thought his wife had tried to poison him, and that he “felt like he was going to die,” according to the new charges. The friend reported that Eric Richins was somber.
Eric Richins told another friend over the phone, “You almost lost me.”
He told the friend his wife had left him a note and a sandwich in his truck, and that he broke out in hives after eating one bite and then used his son’s EpiPen and drank a bottle of Benadryl before going to sleep. Eric Richins did not have any food allergies, and opioids — including fentanyl — can cause allergic reactions such as hives, the court documents say.
The friend “could hear the fear in Eric Richins’ voice and tell that Eric Richins was scared,” according to the charges.
Months after her husband’s death, Kouri Richins texted a friend and said she had ordered her husband lunch from a diner on that Valentine’s Day, and that he never broke out in hives or used an EpiPen. There was a payment to a Kamas diner on a joint bank account that day, according to investigators.
The new charges allege that Kouri Richins purchased fentanyl twice — shortly before Valentine’s Day in 2022 and shortly before her husband’s death weeks later. Richins allegedly told someone helping her get the fentanyl in late February that the pills were not strong enough and that she needed stronger fentanyl — “some of the Michael Jackson stuff.”
Prosecutors say that in the months after her husband’s death, Kouri Richins also accessed websites about the Utah State Prison, how a cause of death impacts life insurance payments, and how law enforcement accesses deleted phone data.
The charges for drug possession with intent to distribute are not listed with the current charges and were modified to distribution of a controlled substance charges, alleging she gave her husband a controlled or counterfeit substance on both Feb. 14, 2022, and on March 3, 2022.
Skye Lazaro, Kouri Richins’ attorney, issued a statement Tuesday saying she has reviewed the amended charges. “There is nothing in the document that affects Kouri’s approach to defending whatever charges the state levies against her. She continues to maintain her innocence.”
Financial fraud
Kouri Richins was “in financial distress” at the time of her husband’s death and had used hard money loans to finance house flipping projects, according to the new charging documents, which add that K. Richins Reality had a monthly debt of over $250,000 and borrowed from over 25 lenders.
Despite this, Richins purchased three properties in November 2021. She was also sued by a company she had entered into a revenue purchase agreement with in December 2021.
Kouri Richins only benefited from Eric Richins’ successful stone masonry business if he died while they were married, and Eric Richins had over $2 million in life insurance policies, the charges allege.
At the time, prosecutors say, she also believed she would inherit her husband’s estate, although Eric Richins had named his sister as the beneficiary of his estate in 2020.
Richins fraudulently claimed insurance benefits from her husband’s death, informing companies she did not know how her husband had obtained the fentanyl, according to the new charges.
The charges also accuse Richins of twice falsifying a bank statement on a mortgage loan application — once on July 7, 2021, and again on Aug. 4, 2021. The bank account for K. Richins Realty, Kouri Richins’ company, had over $15,000 in it, but statements Richins provided indicated it had $200,000 and over $700,000, the court documents state.
In the first instance, a representative of Iron Bridge Financial told Richins they were surprised at her credit score being lower than expected. Richins allegedly responded: “I recently learned about all of this as well LOL and then my husband tried to explain to me this was his doing a while ago … We are in the process of separation for one of many reasons but this is one of them to keep it short and sweet LOL … It’s been crazy to say the least!”
Prosecutors say Kouri Richins applied for another $100,000 life insurance policy for her husband that became effective on Feb. 4, 2022, 10 days before the first attempt at his life. The new charges say Eric Richins had no affiliation with the account, that his signature was forged, the phone number was incorrect and the address listed was a post office box belonging to Kouri Richins.
The post New charges: Utah mom charged with murdering husband also tried killing him on Valentine’s Day appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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