Utah mom accused of poisoning husband with fentanyl in cocktail took out $2 million in life insurance policies on him
A Utah woman who allegedly spiked her husband’s drink with fentanyl and then wrote a children’s book about grief after he died is now accused of secretly taking out nearly $2 million in life insurance policies on him.
The allegations against the woman, Kouri Richins, were raised in an amended court document filed on Thursday, May 18, that led to the postponement of a detention hearing originally scheduled for Friday, May 19.
Richins, 33, is charged with aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute following her husband Eric Richins’ death on March 4, 2022.
He was found unresponsive in the bedroom of their home in Kamas, about 40 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, after she made him a Moscow Mule to celebrate a business deal. An autopsy and a toxicology report found that he died from a fentanyl overdose, according to a probable cause statement.
Prosecutors said Richins slipped five times the lethal dose of fentanyl into the cocktail.
A year after his death, she published a book about grief titled “Are You With Me?” to “create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one,” according to a description on Amazon. She dedicated the book to “my amazing husband and a wonderful father.” It has since been removed from Amazon.
The court document filed on Thursday alleges that in September 2020, Eric Richins found out that his wife had obtained and spent a $250,000 home equity line of credit on their home in Kamas, had withdrawn at least $100,000 from his bank accounts, and spent over $30,000 on his credit cards.
Kouri Richins is also accused of appropriating distributions made from his business “for the purpose of making federal and state quarterly tax payments and not paying the taxes,” the document alleges. The stolen tax payments totaled at least $134,346, it says.
Eric Richins confronted his wife about the money and she agreed to pay him back, according to the document.
The following month, in October 2020, Eric Richins consulted a divorce lawyer and an estate planning lawyer, the document says. Unbeknownst to his wife, he changed his will, formed a living trust, placed his estate under the control of his sister Katie Richins-Benson, and designated the trust as the beneficiary of his $500,000 life insurance policy, according to the filing.
It further alleges that between 2015 and 2017, Kouri Richins bought at least four life insurance policies on her husband totaling nearly $2 million. Eric Richins was unaware that she had purchased the policies, the document says.
Kouri Richins also allegedly changed a separate life insurance policy that her husband had to list herself as the beneficiary. The policy had initially listed Eric Richins’ business partner as the beneficiary.
Eric Richins was alerted to it and was able to change it back to his business partner, the filing says.
The document also provided additional details on Kouri Richins’ alleged attempts to poison her husband with fentanyl pills she obtained from an acquaintance identified in court documents as C.L.
Eric Richins’ family has said that she tried to poison him multiple times.
One of those attempts happened on Valentine’s Day 2022. According to the filing, Kouri Richins allegedly made her husband a sandwich and sat it on the seat of his truck with a love note.
“Shortly after consuming the sandwich, Eric Richins broke out in hives and had difficulty breathing,” it says. “Eric found his son’s EpiPen and administered it to himself and slept.”
Eric Richins believed he had been poisoned and told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him, according to the document. Despite his suspicions, Eric Richins stayed in the marriage with Kouri Richins because of his children, his family’s spokesperson said.
In late February 2022, Kouri Richins allegedly asked C.L. to get stronger fentanyl pills, the document says.
“C.L. initially stated that the defendant specifically asked for ‘some of the Michael Jackson stuff’ during this request for fentanyl, but subsequently conceded that the defendant may have made the Michael Jackson reference during her first request for fentanyl,” it said. (Jackson died in 2009 at his Los Angeles home after having received a lethal dose of propofol.)
C.L. obtained the pills for Kouri Richins, the document says.
A medical examiner said that Eric Richins had five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system when he died and that it was “illicit” fentanyl, not medical-grade. It is also believed he ingested the drugs orally, according to the statement.
Days after his death, Kouri Richins allegedly had a locksmith drill into his safe which contained between $125,000 and $165,000 cash, according to Thursday’s filing. When Eric Richins’ sister suggested that Kouri Richins should not touch the money, she allegedly became enraged and punched the sister in the face and neck.
The document alleges that on March 9 or March 10, after her husband’s death, Kouri Richins told C.L. to leave more fentanyl pills in a fire pit at a home Kouri Richins owned.
Prosecutors said they needed more time to provide discovery related to the new allegations in the document, according to a motion filed on Thursday.
Richins’ attorneys said they needed time to review the discovery and prepare for the hearing.
“The State amended the charging Information and has not turned over discovery yet that supports it,” Skye Lazaro, an attorney for Kouri Richins, said in an emailed statement. “Therefore we couldn’t be prepared to argue about the sufficiency of the evidence.”
The new detention hearing is scheduled for June 12.
This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com