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Kouri Richins to remain in jail while awaiting trial in husband's death

Posted at 8:02 AM, Jun 12, 2023

PARK CITY, Utah — Kouri Richins, the Utah woman who is accused of killing her husband before authoring a book on grief, appeared in court Monday morning to determine whether she should remain detained or be granted bail.

The judge determined that Richins would continue to be held without bail while she awaits trial.

Kouri Richins
Kouri Richins, a Utah mother of three who authorities say fatally poisoned her husband then wrote a children's book about grieving, walks out of the court during a recess at a bail hearing Monday, June 12, 2023, in Park City, Utah. A judge ruled to keep her in custody for the duration of her trial. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

"Defendants alleged conduct, as supported by substantial evidence, is especially dangerous," said Judge Richard Mrazik. "Indeed, these circumstances constitute clear and convincing evidence that the defendant would pose a substantial danger to the community if released on bail."

Richins appeared between her two attorneys Monday in front of a packed courthouse.

She faces charges of criminal homicide, aggravated murder and three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in the 2022 death of her husband, Eric Richins.

Prosecutors called multiple witnesses forward in the hearing and detective Jeff O'Driscoll was the first to testify.

He recounted the investigation and revealed details about how fentanyl pills were allegedly obtained by Richins.

At one point during the hearing, Richins appeared to be crying and bowed her head when O'Driscoll testified on how the body of her husband was found "cold to the touch" at their home.

Two other witnesses testified of their involvement in the investigation, explaining how they used digital records, phone activity, documents, bank information and tax returns in the case.

Prosecutors painted a picture that Richins was in deep financial trouble and was desperate for a way out, even going so far as to kill her husband for financial gain as he had multiple life insurance policies.

“One or two pills might be an accident. Twenty — or five times the lethal dose — is not accidental. That is a lot. That is someone who wanted Eric dead,” said Summit County Chief Prosecutor Patricia Cassell.

Eric's sister, Amy Richins also testified in the hearing, delivering a victim impact statement and saying her brother died under "horrendous circumstances" and that there was "no comfort to be had."

"The thought of it is unbearable," Amy said. "I am haunted by the horror of it."

Video below shows full impact statement from Amy Richins:

Amy Richins reads statement in Kouri Richins hearing

Amy said they've been in a "living hell" during the last year as she claimed Richins tried to make a profit on her husband's death.

"We have scarcely gone a day without finding out some new allegations or evidence regarding something Kouri appears to have maliciously done to attack and undermine my brother, his three little boys and our family," Amy stated.

Richins' attorneys argued that no drugs were found at the family home after the death and said their findings revealed Richins' financial troubles proved she was bad at math, not guilty of murder.

Ahead of the court appearance, Richins' attorneys argued there was "no substantial evidence to support the charges."

Documents released Friday report defense attorneys argue there "is no substantial evidence to support the charges" and ask that Richins be released she awaits trial in Park City.

At the same time, prosecutors report internet search records on Richins' phone contained phrases such as “can cops force you to do a lie detector test?” “Luxury prisons for the rich in America,” “death certificate says pending, will life insurance still pay?” “If someone is poisoned what does it go down on the death certificate as,” and “How to permanently delete information from an iPhone remotely."

The Summit County mother of three had been married to her husband for nine years at the time of his death in March 2022.

Richins told police that she made her husband an alcoholic beverage and brought it to him in their bedroom before later finding him "cold to the touch."

Deputies found Eric dead at the foot of his bed and an autopsy later revealed he died from an overdose of fentanyl, with the medical examiner claiming he had about five times the lethal dosage in his system at the time of death.

During the subsequent investigation, an acquaintance of Kouri's reported that she asked for "some prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury," and later "some of the Michael Jackson stuff."

Days after she received fentanyl pills, documents report the Richins has dinner and home when Eric became "very ill" and told a friend he believed his wife was trying to poison him."

A search warrant obtained by FOX 13 News detailed that Eric thought his wife tried to poison him when they were in Greece a few years prior when his wife made him a drink and a sandwich, to which he had bad reactions.

Shortly before his death, Eric changed his will and life insurance police without telling his wife, documents report.