Court documents reveal secret life insurance policies, stolen money, a contentious court battle and the hiring of a private investigator to investigate the death of a Utah man whose wife allegedly poisoned him with a spiked drink.
The wife, Kouri Richins, was arrested and charged with killing Eric Richins last year during a quiet celebration at his home in Kamas, Utah, about 40 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, after she locked up a house for her business, according to authorities. .
A medical examiner said he had five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system at the time of his death on March 4, 2022.
Eric Richins suspected his wife had tried to poison him multiple times and warned his family that she was to blame if anything happened to him, according to search warrant affidavits obtained from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. A family spokesman said he stayed in the marriage because of his three children.
As Richins prepares for a detention hearing next month, here are some key dates in the investigation.
Between 2015 and 2017
Richins is accused of purchasing at least four life insurance policies for her husband totaling nearly $2 million, according to an amended court document filed May 18 that led to the postponement of a detention hearing originally scheduled for May 19. May. Eric Richins did not know about the policy, the document said.
Eric Richins discovered that his wife had allegedly obtained and spent a $250,000 home equity line of credit on their Kamas home, withdrew at least $100,000 from their bank accounts and spent more than $30,000 using their credit cards, according to the court document. amended. He also alleged that Richins was «appropriating distributions made from Eric Richins’ business for the purpose of making federal and state quarterly tax payments and not paying the taxes.» The stolen tax payments totaled at least $134,346, according to the filing.
He confronted her about the money and she agreed to pay him back, according to the court document.
Eric Richins consulted with both a divorce attorney and an estate planning attorney. Unbeknownst to his wife, he changed his will, formed a living trust and placed his estate under the control of his sister, Katie Richins-Benson, according to the amended court document.
He also transferred his partnership interest in his business to the trust and named the trust as the beneficiary of his $500,000 life insurance policy, according to the document.
January 1, 2022
Eric Richins and his business partner had $2 million life insurance policies that listed each other as beneficiaries, but prosecutors alleged that on Jan. 1, 2022, Richins changed the policy to list the beneficiary, according to the amended court document.
Her husband was alerted to the change and put his business partner back as the beneficiary, according to the document.
Later in the month, he allegedly «caused an application to be submitted for a new $100,000 life insurance policy on the life of Eric Richins,» according to the document.
February 12, 2022
In early 2022, Richins called or texted an acquaintance named CL and asked for fentanyl, according to the document. Data from Richins’ phone showed that he contacted CL multiple times in January 2022, but authorities were unable to determine the content of the messages because he allegedly deleted data from his phone from January 2, 2022, until shortly after Richins’ death. Eric Richins.
CL told authorities that she obtained the fentanyl pills and gave them to Richins in a hand-to-hand transaction on February 11 or 12, 2022, according to the document.
February 14, 2022
A Valentine’s Day meal turned into a nightmare when Eric Richins «had hives and shortness of breath» after eating a sandwich his wife made for him, according to the document.
Prosecutors alleged in the document that Richins made a sandwich for her husband and placed it on the seat of his truck with a love note. But after eating it, her husband got sick and needed to use her son’s EpiPen. The document said that Eric Richins believed he had been poisoned and «told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him.»
End of February 2022
Richins allegedly contacted CL and said the fentanyl pills «were not strong enough and asked her to get stronger fentanyl,» the document said. CL told authorities that Richins «asked for ‘some Michael Jackson stuff’ during this fentanyl request, but later conceded that the defendant may have referenced Michael Jackson during his first fentanyl request,» according to the document. (The pop superstar died in 2009 at her Los Angeles home, she received a lethal dose of propofol.)
CL again obtained pills for Richins, according to the document.
March 3, 2022
Richins allegedly owed more than $1 million at the time of her husband’s death, prosecutors said in the document. The day before her husband’s death, prosecutors said she spoke with a lender to whom she owed at least $1.8 million and had a lengthy phone call with the IRS. The document alleged that she had outstanding state and federal tax liabilities totaling $189,840 and that she also owed her husband at least $514,346.
March 4, 2022
Eric Richins, 39, died after he was found unconscious in the bedroom of his home in Kamas after having a drink to celebrate his wife’s business deal.
He had five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system, according to the medical examiner, who said it was «illicit» fentanyl and not medical grade. He is also believed to have ingested the drugs orally, according to the medical examiner.
Details about that night differ in a search warrant affidavit and a probable cause statement.
Richins told authorities that she and her husband were celebrating the closing on a home for their business, according to the statement. She said she made her husband a Moscow mule in the kitchen and took it to her bedroom where he drank it while he sat on the bed, she said. Prosecutors have said she slipped five times the lethal dose of fentanyl into the cocktail.
However, the affidavit stated that Eric Richins had a shot of alcohol and a THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) gummy.
Richins told authorities that she fell asleep in one of her children’s bedrooms and when she woke up and went to her bedroom, her husband was cold to the touch, according to both documents. The affidavit said Richins allegedly attempted CPR on her husband, but when fire and medical personnel arrived, they said it did not appear that she had performed CPR «due to the large amount of blood coming out of Eric’s mouth.» .
He also told authorities that he had left his phone plugged in in his bedroom, however investigators found that it had been locked and unlocked multiple times and showed movement before he called 911, according to the statement.
The couple had been married for nine years at the time of Eric Richins’ death, according to his online post. obituary. They have three children.
March 6, 2022
Days after her husband’s death, Richins allegedly had a locksmith drill through her husband’s safe, which contained between $125,000 and $165,000 in cash, according to the amended court document. When Eric Richins’ sister, Katie Richins-Benson, told Richins to leave the safe alone, prosecutors alleged in the filing that Richins became angry and punched him in the face and neck.
Sheriff’s deputies responded and called the attorney for the Eric Richins estate.
Richins was informed that her husband had created a living trust.
March 9, 2022
Richins allegedly wrote a back check for $1,300 to obtain fentanyl pills from CL, prosecutors said in the document. CL told authorities that on March 9 or 10 she left the pills at a bonfire in the backyard of a home owned by Richins, according to the document.
July 15, 2022
Richins-Benson hired a private investigator to monitor and follow Richins, according to court documents Richins filed to remove her sister-in-law as trustee of the Eric Richins trust. Richins and his sister-in-law have been in a legal battle over the trust and estate since Eric Richins’ death.
Richins said in the documents that the private investigator would park outside her home «to observe and monitor her» and question her neighbors about her and her husband.
Greg Skordas, a spokesman for Eric Richins’ family, told NBC News that the private investigator was hired to investigate the death. The private investigator refused to discuss the case.
7 of March
A year after her husband’s death, Richins published a book titled «Are You With Me?» and she dedicated it to «my amazing husband and wonderful father.» An Amazon description of the book said it was written to «create peace and comfort for children who have lost a loved one.»
In the 41-page book, a boy wonders if his father is with him when he is sad or angry and if he is with him on special occasions. The father assures the child that he is there for all those moments.
The book is no longer available on Amazon.
6 of April
Richins, in an interview with Salt Lake City’s KTVX-TV, discussed her book and her husband’s death, which she said happened «out of the blue.»
“It took us all by surprise. My children and I wrote this book about the different emotions and grief processes we experienced in the past year, in the hope that it can help other children deal with this and find happiness one way or another,” he said. KTVX reporters.
He went on to talk about how he would tell his children that their «daddy is still here, just in a different way.» Richins said she wrote the book after watching her children struggle with the death of his father.
The station later updated its story to say it was unaware that she was a suspect in her husband’s death.
Richins was arrested on charges of aggravated manslaughter and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. She has not entered a guilty plea and is due in court on June 12, the new date for her detention hearing.
His lawyer has not commented on the allegations.