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Utah man allegedly murdered by author wife took 'highly unusual' steps to boot her out of will

Eric Richins, a Utah man allegedly poisoned to death by his wife of nine years, took “highly unusual” steps to keep his wife from becoming the sole beneficiary of his estate after his death, according to his attorney.

Prosecutors allege Kouri Richins, 33, murdered her 39-year-old husband by spiking his cocktail with fentanyl the evening of March 3, 2022, at their home in Kamas, just outside of Park City, while their three sons were asleep.

“Eric made and requested several unusual to highly unusual choices and provisions to his estate plan,” estate-planning attorney Kristal Bowman-Carter wrote in a declaration filed in Summit County in connection with Kouri Richins’ murder case. 

Prior to his death, Eric took Kouri off his will and made his sister and father the beneficiaries instead. His family told authorities he had been in fear for his life after Kouri allegedly tried to poison him several years ago in Greece and again on Valentine’s Day last year.

“At our meeting, he told me he had two primary goals. His first goal was to protect him in the short-term from fairly recently discovered and ongoing abuse and misuse of his finances by his wife Kouri Richins.… His second was to protect the three young sons he and Kouri had together in the long-term by ensuring that Kouri would never be in a position to manage his property after his death,” Bowman-Carter wrote.

Kouri and Eric Richins smile together

Utah prosecutors are accusing Kouri Richins, 33, of poisoning her husband Eric Richins, 39, with fentanyl last year at their home in Kamas, outside of Park City, while their three young sons were sleeping. (Facebook/Kouri Richins)

Eric believed that designating someone other than his wife “to manage his property after his death would protect his sons from Kouri’s poor financial choices and decisions,” she added.

Prosecutors allege Kouri purchased four different life insurance policies on Eric’s life totaling more than $1.9 million between 2015 and 2017. 

In November 2020, Eric asked Bowman-Carter to make his sister, Katie, his health-care agent instead of his wife, which the attorney described as “highly unusual,” as most spouses list each other as their health-care agents. He later changed his mind and made Kouri his primary health-care agent, Bowman-Carter explained.

Split headshots of Kouri and Eric Richins

Utah author Kouri Richins allegedly tried to steal her husband’s life insurance benefits before his death in March 2022. (KPCW via AP/family handout)

Eric also made clear that, while he wanted his children to be the primary beneficiaries of his estate, Kouri only “benefit from the minimum amount he was required to leave her and that she could not control either” her share or her children’s share of Eric’s estate. He went on to choose his sister and father as his successor trustees, his lawyer wrote.

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Kouri is accused of spiking her husband’s Moscow Mule with fentanyl, an opioid that is lethal in small doses, while they were celebrating a home sale March 3, 2022. The next day, Kouri allegedly closed a deal on the Wasatch County mansion “alone,” after her husband was pronounced dead.

Eric and Kouri Richins at a football game

Charges filed against Kouri Richins are based on officers’ interactions with Richins and an unnamed acquaintance who apparently told authorities that she sold fentanyl to the mother of three. (Facebook/Kouri Richins)

When authorities contacted Bowman-Carter asking her to explain the details of Eric’s will to Kouri, the lawyer said she “became extremely upset” and started yelling.

“Kouri shouted, ‘What’s wrong with you people?’ and ‘How could you do this to me?’ and ‘This is my house,’” Bowman-Carter said. “I explained to her that the Trust owned the house and told her, ‘This is not your house.’”

A judge denied bail for Kouri in a Summit County courtroom on Monday.

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