Wife in Poisoned Husband Case Drilled Into His Safe After He Died: Authorities

Kouri Richins also took out $2M in life insurance policies on him
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
Updated May 20, 2023 5:30 AM CDT
Cops Cite Phone Data in Case of Poisoned Husband
This photo provided by KPCW.org shows Kouri Richins at the KPCW studio in Park City, Utah, April 12, 2023.   (KPCW.org via AP)
UPDATE May 20, 2023 5:30 AM CDT

The Utah mother of three accused of fatally poisoning her husband with fentanyl in his cocktail took out nearly $2 million in life insurance policies on him between 2015 and 2017 without his knowledge, according to newly amended court documents. The documents also allege that in 2020, Eric Richins discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars Kouri Richins had spent on a home equity line of credit she took out, his credit cards, cash withdrawn from his accounts, and money meant for taxes that she stole from his business, CBS News and NBC News report. It was the following month that he consulted a divorce lawyer. The documents also accuse Kouri Richins of drilling a hole into her husband's safe after his death and taking out $100,000 in cash, Yahoo News reports.

May 11, 2023 1:30 AM CDT

The Utah realtor accused of fatally poisoning her husband, then writing a children's book about grief inspired by his death, told police that on the night her husband died in 2022 she had gone to sleep in one of their children's rooms because the child had a night terror, then woke up at 3am to find her husband "cold to the touch" in their bedroom. But, according to court records released Wednesday, police found evidence contradicting that on Kouri Richins' cellphone. She said she'd left the phone in the couple's bedroom, the records say, but police say they found she'd used it during the time she was supposedly asleep in the child's room: locking and unlocking it several times, moving around, and sending and receiving messages that were later deleted, NBC News reports.

The records reveal Eric Richins, 39, believed his wife of nine years had tried to poison him on at least two prior occasions, but that he stayed in the marriage for the sake of the couple's three young sons. His relatives told investigators Eric Richins had "warned them that if anything happened to him she was to blame," the court records say, and that he suspected she might try to murder him for money. The couple's relationship was contentious prior to Eric Richins' death, Fox News reports, and investigators say one big point of contention was a mansion Kouri Richins, a realtor, had been hired to sell. She wanted to buy it for $2 million but her husband thought it was too pricey, and his family says he was planning to tell her he wouldn't sign closing papers. Instead, she ended up signing them the day after his death.

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The relatives also say Eric Richins had switched his power of attorney and the beneficiary of his life insurance policy from his wife to his sister prior to his death, and also took his wife off his will, as he started considering divorce. Now Kouri Richins is in a legal battle with his sister, as she claims a prenuptial agreement entitles her to her late husband's estate. (More on the alleged murder, as well as the alleged prior poisoning attempts, here.)

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