New court documents peel back the layers of a woman accused of murdering her husband with fentanyl, revealing that she was in debt over her head, and allegedly took out four life insurance policies on him, KSL-TV reports.
Kouri Darden Richens, 33, wrote a children’s book about dealing with unexpected and devastating loss, publishing it almost a year to the day of husband Eric Richens’ death. Kouri told KPCW that writing it “brought peace” to her and her three sons.
Yet prosecutors now allege that while promoting her book on TV and appearing publicly as a grieving widow and newly single mother, Kouri was hiding a sinister secret: that she had allegedly murdered him, and profited from almost $2 million in life insurance policies Eric never knew she had on his life, KSL-TV says.
Police arrested and charged Kouri on May 8, 2023 with three charges of second-degree possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and one charge of first-degree aggravated murder, according to the warrant.
Eric was found dead at the foot of his bed on March 3, 2022, the warrant states. The medical examiner found the level of fentanyl in Eric’s body to be “approximately five times the lethal dosage,” and that it was illicit fentanyl, not prescription.
Kouri told police she and Eric had been celebrating the closure of a sale on a $2 million home she wanted to flip, though investigators learned she didn’t close on the sale until the day after Eric’s death, the warrant says. Between that, cell phone data, and information from a witness who claimed Kouri bought fentanyl from them, Kouri’s story seemed to unravel quickly - and continues to do so.
A story in frays and a wife in too much debt
On the same day Kouri closed on the home, she also learned that she had been cut out of Eric’s will, KPCW reports.
Prosecutors allege that Kouri hired a locksmith on March 6, 2022 to drill a hole in Eric’s safe, which apparently held between $125,000 and $165,000 in cash, KSL-TV reveals.
Eric’s sister told Kouri she was out of the will, and Kouri allegedly punched her sister-in-law in a rage, KPCW says. Eric made the change to his will, making his sister the beneficiary of his $500,000 life insurance policy, without telling Kouri, indicating that Kouri had no right breaking into her husband’s safe.
For that altercation, Kouri was charged with assault, KPCW adds. She pleaded no contest to a class-B misdemeanor. Kouri sued Eric’s sister for the rights to the property as outlined in a prenuptial the couple signed before marrying.
KSL-TV explains that the couple signed the agreement on June 15, 2013. It stated that neither party had rights to each other’s current or future income, property, or assets, unless Eric died while they were still lawfully married. His partnership interest in his business would transfer to his wife if that were to happen.
Eric discovered in September 2020 that Kouri got her hands on $250,000 from a home equity line of credit for the home Eric owned before they got married - and she allegedly spent it all, KSL-TV says. Court documents also claim she withdrew $100,000 from Eric’s bank account and spent $30,000 on his credit cards.
Kouri also faces stolen tax payments totaling around $134,346 after “appropriating distributions made from Eric Richins’ business for the purpose of making federal and state quarterly tax payments and not paying the taxes,” KSL-TV says, quoting the court documents. She apparently agreed to repay Eric when he confronted her about it.
In October 2020, he consulted a divorce lawyer and an estate planning lawyer without Kouri’s knowledge, KSL-TV says. He changed his will to form the “Eric Richins Living Trust,” effectively placing his estate under his sister’s name so his children had something left. The trust became the beneficiary of his $500,000 life insurance policy, and his wife had no idea she had been cut out.
More secrets brewed between the couple, prosecutors allege. KSL-TV reports that Kouri took out at least four life insurance policies on Eric between 2015 and 2017, worth a total of $1,947,000. They were purchased before the trust fund was established, though Eric couldn’t disclose what he didn’t know existed.
The court documents also state that Eric and his business partner had life insurance policies with each other listed as beneficiaries, KSL-TV continues. Kouri took it upon herself on January 1, 2022 to change Eric’s beneficiary to her. The insurance company called Eric and he amended the policy back to its original state.
Despite that, prosecutors further allege that Kouri took out another life insurance policy on her husband worth $100,000, KSL-TV says. It was issued on February 4, 2022, only a month before he died.
On February 11, Kouri paid $900 for 15-30 fentanyl pills, the arrest warrant states. Two weeks later, she paid another $900 for more pills. On March 3, 2022, Eric was dead of a fentanyl overdose.
At that time, Kouri had a state and federal tax liability totaling $189,840, KSL-TV states. She also owed a hard money lender $1,847,760, and another $514,346 to her husband.
Investigators say that in the hours leading up to Eric’s death, Kouri spent the evening on the phone with the IRS, and called her hard money lender, KSL-TV says.
In light of the new details, Kouri’s defense attorneys filed a motion to have the May 19 hearing delayed to have more time to respond to the documents, which the judge granted, KPCW reports. The next hearing is now scheduled for June 12, 2023.