Eric Richins, whose wife is accused of killing him, ‘hoped to keep his family together,’ spokesperson says

Utah author Kouri Richins is suspected of killing him after the two argued over a $2M real estate deal.

(via Greg Skordas) Eric Richins, who died March 4, 2022, is shown in this undated photo. His wife, Utah author Kouri Richins, is suspected of fatally drugging the 39-year-old after the two argued over a multi-million dollar real estate deal.

Before 39-year-old Eric Richins died of a fentanyl overdose last year that prosecutors say his wife induced, he was an avid outdoorsman and entrepreneur.

He was also a devoted father and husband, said Greg Skordas, a Salt Lake City attorney who is acting as a spokesperson for the Richins family.

“He hoped to keep his family together,” Skordas said. “He hoped to keep his boys in a nuclear family, and he had hoped that things would work out.”

“And he was very much in love with his wife,” Skordas continued, “even though it became fairly obvious that she was trying to undermine him professionally and ... he at least suspected that she was trying to kill him at one point.”

College and a new business

(via Greg Skordas) Eric Richins, who died on March 4, 2022, is pictured in an undated photo. His wife, Utah author Kouri Richins, is suspected of fatally drugging the 39-year-old after the two argued over a multi-million dollar real estate deal.

Originally from Bountiful, Richins went to Woods Cross High before graduating from the University of Utah, according to his Facebook profile. The university declined to comment but confirmed he received a bachelor’s degree in 2011.

Two years prior, he had started a masonry business called C&E Stone Masonry with his business partner and close friend Cody Wright; the letters in the company’s name corresponded to their own initials, according to a petition filed Wednesday in an ongoing probate case over Richins’ estate. The pair focused on intricate outdoor stone work, pavers and tile work in high-end homes, as seen on their Instagram.

Richins and Wright purchased mutual life insurance policies on each other, the petition states. Skordas said this is common practice when two people go into business together. “It gives you the funds to buy the other party out if they die,” he said.

Cody Wright referred The Salt Lake Tribune to Skordas for comment.

Marriage to Kouri Richins

(KPCW.org via AP) This photo provided by KPCW.org shows Kouri Richins at the KPCW studio in Park City, Utah, April 12, 2023. Richins was arrested on Monday, May 8, and is accused in charging documents of killing her husband with a lethal dose of fentanyl at their home in Kamas.

On June 15, 2013, Eric Richins married Kouri Richins in the backyard of their Kamas home, and they eventually had three sons, court records state.

But by at least 2016, she was stealing money from him, the petition in the probate case alleges.

In order to afford to flip houses and address her ongoing financial woes, the petition alleges she began taking money from his bank accounts as well as running up debts on credit cards in his name without his knowledge.

In 2020, Eric Richins learned that Kouri Richins had taken at least $100,000 from his accounts as well as borrowed large amounts of money on his credit cards, in excess of $30,000, the petition states.

Also in 2020, Eric discovered that Kouri had borrowed $250,000 using a fraudulent power of attorney, forging his initials on documents allowing her to act on his behalf, the petition states. When Eric confronted her, Kouri admitted to taking the money.

In January 2022, Kouri Richins secretly logged into Eric’s life insurance account and changed the beneficiary from Cody Wright to herself, the petition states, although Eric was alerted to the change, and changed it back to Wright’s name.

Kouri also is accused of taking at least $80,024 that was meant to be used by Eric to pay his federal taxes, as well as at least $54,322 for his state taxes — and may have taken more money for a purpose that’s “yet to be discovered,” the petition states.

“There was no question that their marriage was on the rocks,” Skordas said. “And we believe that Kouri took some steps to manipulate their marital assets because of that. And we also believe that she took his life because of that.”

Eric was found dead at the foot of his bed on March 4, 2022. Kouri is accused of fatally drugging him after the two of them argued over a $2 million-dollar real estate deal the night prior, which records state Eric felt would lose them money.

Before his death, Eric Richins believed his wife had tried to poison him multiple times, court records allege, citing two instances before his apparent fatal overdose in which Eric ingested something that his wife had given him that caused him to fall ill.

Being a father was ‘his favorite thing’

In an online obituary from 2022, Eric Richins is remembered as a hunter and hard worker who “spent countless hours helping his dad work the ranch, hauling hay, feeding the animals, and mending fences.”

“He loved his family unconditionally, and was a devoted son, brother, and uncle,” the obituary states.

Skordas described Richins as a “very generous man” who donated his time to coach his sons’ soccer, basketball and baseball teams.

“Mostly he just liked to be with his boys,” Skordas said. “He just wanted to be very much a part of their lives, which is why he was so active in their extracurricular activities. What he liked to do was be a father. That was his favorite thing.”

Eric Richins’ family continues to grieve his death, Skordas said. “But they’ve also been hopeful that the truth would come out. And they’re still optimistic about that.”

Kouri Richins was charged in 3rd District Court on May 8 with one count of aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in connection with Eric Richins’ death.

About a year after Eric Richins died, and two months before she was charged, Kouri Richins published a children’s book about grief called “Are You with Me?”. Since her arrest, the book has been removed from Amazon’s website.

In April, Richins appeared in a segment on KTVX-Channel 4′s “Good Things Utah” to discuss the new book, during which she shared that her husband “passed away unexpectedly last year.”

Kouri Richins is currently in custody at the Summit County jail. A court hearing in the homicide case is slated for Friday.

Correction • 12:40 p.m. May 18: This story has been updated to accurately reflect Eric Richins’ volunteerism.