A Kamas, Utah judge ruled that a woman accused of murdering her husband will have to wait for a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to move forward, KUTV reports. Kouri Richins, 34, awaits trial for the murder of her husband, Eric Richins, after he was found dead at the foot of his bed on March 3, 2022. According to the arrest warrant, the medical examiner found the level of illicit fentanyl in Eric’s body to be “approximately five times the lethal dosage.” A year later, she released a book she wrote and self-published, “Are You With Me?” which she said in interviews was meant to help children experiencing grief after losing a loved one, KSL-TV adds.
Kouri made a court appearance on Sept. 1, 2023, during which her defense attorney, Skye Lazaro, told Judge Richard Mzarik that due to the many documents to review, she needs more time to prepare for the preliminary hearing, KUTV says. Mzarik set a status update hearing for November 3, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. KUTV reports that Kouri became visibly emotional when the hearing concluded, appearing to choke back tears. Lazaro, in an attempt to console her, set a hand on her client’s back. “This is hard,” Lazaro told KUTV after the hearing. “She’s been in custody. She’s lost her kids. She’s going through a lot. All she wanted from the beginning was to grieve her husband.” A year after Eric’s death, Kouri released a book she wrote and self-published, “Are You With Me?” which she said in interviews was meant to help children experiencing grief after losing a loved one, KSL-TV adds. Earlier this year at a hearing, Eric’s brother called her alleged actions “a senseless act of poisoning,” KUTV says. Court documents from a lawsuit filed by Eric’s sister, who is charge of his estate, allege that Kouri was “approximately $6,000,000 in debt, and KRR’s bank account was overdrawn by approximately $22,000” at the time of Eric’s death. Kouri’s defense team said that Kouri was “bad at math” over her growing debt problems before her husband’s death, but it didn’t make her a killer, ABC says. Kouri was denied bail last month and remains in prison, charged with three counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and one charge of first-degree aggravated murder, KPCW says. On August 18, 2023, prosecutors announced that while the charges are eligible for the death penalty in Utah where the alleged murder took place, they have decided to not seek that as a sentence, ABC reports.