Children’s Book Author Kouri Richins Faces New Attempted Murder Accusation

A Utah woman, recognized as a children’s author, who is alleged to have lethally poisoned her spouse in 2022, has been slapped with an additional charge of attempted murder, accused of a prior drugging incident on Valentine’s Day.

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33-year-old Kouri Richins stands accused of administering a fatal fentanyl dose to her husband in their quaint mountain town home near Park City, in March 2022. Summit County prosecutors filed new charges on Monday, suggesting it wasn’t her initial attempt on his life.

New documents unveil the treacherous months leading up to Eric Richins’ demise, depicting a man fraught with paranoia, tiptoeing around his wife who was surreptitiously arranging finances and procuring illegal drugs found later in his system.

Prosecutors had hinted that Kouri Richins might have attempted to poison her husband a month prior to his death, but held off on filing those charges until now.

The grim tale of a once-admired author, now charged with capitalizing on her heinous act, has seized the attention of true-crime fans since her arrest for her husband’s murder. She had self-published “Are You With Me?”—an illustrated book about a father’s spiritual guardianship over his son post-mortem.

What was originally hailed as an uplifting read for bereaved children, the book has turned into a prosecutorial exhibit to argue that Kouri Richins meticulously planned and tried to disguise a murder.

While promoting her book, the mother of three branded her husband’s passing as unforeseen and earned praise for supporting her children and others through the mourning of a parent.

Her defense lawyer, Skye Lazaro, has not immediately replied to inquiries regarding the new allegations. Lazaro previously contested the evidence against her client as speculative and circumstantial in preliminary hearings.

Prosecutors claim that a sandwich, left in his truck on Valentine’s Day with a note, led Eric Richins, 39, to develop hives and lose consciousness.

His wife had fetched the sandwich from a Kamas diner the same week she allegedly bought numerous fentanyl pills, as per witness accounts and texts retrieved by police.

The prosecution’s key witness, a housekeeper, alleges she sold Kouri Richins the drugs just days before Valentine’s Day. Subsequently, Richins purportedly complained the pills weren’t potent enough and sought stronger variants, the new charges state.

Friends of Eric Richins shared accounts of calls on the alleged day of the first poisoning by his wife of nine years. After using his son’s EpiPen and gulping down Benadryl, he awoke, confiding to a friend, “I reckon my wife’s trying to poison me.”

According to his friends, fear was evident in his tone as Richins, with no known allergies, expressed a sense of impending doom, suspecting his wife.

A month on, Kouri Richins contacted emergency services, reporting her husband “cold to the touch” at their bed’s end, per a police report. He was declared deceased, with an autopsy revealing fivefold the lethal fentanyl dose in his body.

“One or two pills could be accidental. Twenty—or a quintuple lethal dose—doesn’t happen by accident. Someone wanted Eric dead,” stated Summit County Chief Prosecutor Patricia Cassell.

Cassell contends that amidst marital spats, Richins laced her husband’s cocktail with fentanyl. Years preceding his death, she had secretly started multiple life insurance policies on him, totaling nearly $2 million, prosecutors claim.

On Monday, Kouri Richins also faced charges of mortgage and insurance fraud for allegedly falsifying loan documents and wrongfully claiming insurance post his demise.

Prosecutors suggest she faced financial woes at his death, having misunderstood the inheritance stipulations of their prenup. Documents reveal her bank account in the red, debts surpassing $1.8 million, and a pending creditor lawsuit.

Charging documents note that Eric Richins sought legal counsel for divorce and estate planning in October 2020, a month after learning of his wife’s unilateral financial decisions. Their prenup stipulated she could only gain from his stone masonry business were he to pass while they remained wed.

Under Utah law, murder convicts cannot financially benefit from their crimes.

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