The murder of Eric Richins

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A decade ago, Kouri Darden was working at Home Depot alongside her co-worker Linda King when Linda decided to play matchmaker. Linda sent her favorite customer, Eric Richins, to Kouri’s register after noticing that Kouri had caught the attention of Eric. They set up a date & the rest was history; Linda said they were glued to each other & she felt they were the perfect match. 

In March of 2022, 33-year-old Kouri was working as a real estate agent & 39-year-old Eric owned a successful stone masonry business; the couple had been married for nine years & had three sons together; they lived in the small mountain town of Kamas, Utah, near Park City. At the time, their three boys were 9, 7 & 5. On the night of March 3, 2022, Kouri said that she & Eric were celebrating her closing on a house for her business; at 9 pm, she made Eric a Moscow Mule in the kitchen & he took it upstairs to their bedroom & drank it while sitting in bed. She said that she left to sleep with one of their children after they had a night terror & left her phone in her bedroom, plugged in & charging next to the bed. When she came back to their bedroom at 3 am, she found Eric on the floor, unresponsive & “cold to the touch” & called 911. 

On March 4, 2022 at 3:22 am, Summit County Sheriff’s Department & EMS responded to the Richins’ home. When they arrived, they found Eric on the floor at the foot of the bed. When officers arrived, Kouri told them that she had tried performing CPR on Eric though they questioned the accuracy of this after they noted a copious amount of blood coming from his mouth. She told them that in addition to the drink she made her husband, he had also taken a THC gummy. Emergency workers attempted resuscitation though Eric was pronounced dead at the home. 

According to Eric’s obituary, he was born on May 13, 1982 to parents Gene & Linda Richins in Bountiful, Utah; today would have been his 41st birthday. Eric came from a very prominent family in the Summit County area of Utah & his world revolved around his family, his love of hunting, the family cattle ranch & his incredible drive as an entrepreneur. He was the oldest of three children, having two younger sisters. He was described as someone who did absolutely everything in his power to provide for his family with every possible opportunity to learn, grow & have fun.  While growing up, he loved watching & playing sports & was involved in cross country, basketball, baseball & soccer. With boys of his own, he stepped up & was the coach or assistant coach on all of his boy’s teams, spending countless hours teaching his kids to give their all. He cared for each child that he coached & wanted the absolute best for all of them. Family indicated that when Eric was around, there was never a dull moment; he was always the life of the party & received the record for the Richins’ family for most rolls & collisions of motorized vehicles as well as the most stitches from a single accident; 200 in the face, to be exact. 

Eric was a member of the LDS Church & served a two-year mission in Mexico City where he learned to speak Spanish fluently. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in International Studies with a minor in Spanish & was said to have the perfect combination of business sense & foresight, building a very successful masonry business. He cared about each person he met & when someone needed him, he was the one that could always be counted on. 

While first responders attempted to resuscitate Eric, they asked where Eric’s medications were & Kouri said that she didn’t know since “the maid just puts medications in random places.” She claimed that Eric had a previous pain pill addiction while in high school but had no substance abuse issues since. Friends & family would later say that they didn’t notice any behavior from Eric that led them to believe he had any active issues with drugs & no pain pills were located in the Richin’s home. Kouri told investigators that after she had gone to bed, she hadn’t used her phone until she made the 911 call since it was in her room, charging.

After an autopsy was complete, the toxicology report later showed that Eric had five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system. The medical examiner indicated that it was “illicit” vs. medical grade fentanyl that based on Eric’s stomach contents, the medication was ingested orally. Because of the suspicious circumstances of Eric’s death, investigators obtained a search warrant for the Richins’ home as well as electronics within the home. It was discovered that despite what Kouri initially told investigators about her lack of phone use at the time that Eric died, her phone had been locked & unlocked multiple times during that period & messages had been sent & received & deleted; movement was also recorded. 

Bruce Capes, a friend who’d known Eric for 20 years was shocked at the news of his friend’s sudden death; Eric was young & healthy. He’d often spoken with Eric, mostly about hunting, but he’d only met Kouri a few times & it was Bruce’s impression that the couple had “the perfect little life.” Linda King, who had introduced Kouri & Eric at Home Depot attended Eric’s funeral; she was shocked when she learned of Eric’s sudden passing. She had reached out to a friend of Eric’s to find out what happened & was told that he’d had a brain aneurysm. 

During the investigation, authorities learned that Kouri had several communications with an acquaintance who was identified as CL, who had multiple counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance & possession of drug paraphernalia. CL was interviewed by Summit County detectives on May 2, 2023; he told investigators that sometime between December of 2021 & February of 2022, Kouri had texted him, asking for prescription pain medication for an investor who had a back injury. CL got hydrocodone pills from a dealer & a few days later, left them at a house that Kouri owned & was flipping in Midway. Kouri left CL cash for these pills. Two weeks later, Kouri again contacted CL & specifically asked for fentanyl, saying she wanted something “stronger” & asked for “some of that Michael Jackson stuff.” CL contacted a dealer & gave Kouri 15-30 fentanyl pills in exchange for $900 on February 11, 2022 after she came to his home in Heber to retrieve the pills.

Three days later, it was Valentine’s Day & Kouri brought Eric a sandwich & he took one bite & immediately broke out in hives & had issues breathing; he reportedly used his son’s EpiPen & took Benadryl & passed out for several hours. When he woke up, he called his business partner & told him what happened, questioning if Kouri was trying to poison him. 

Two weeks later, Kouri allegedly contacted CL for “another $900 of fentanyl pills.” CL again contacted his dealer & on February 26, 2022, Kouri told him to leave the pills at the outdoor fire pit of the home she owned in Midway; she told him she would leave the cash in that spot. Six days later, on March 4, 2022, Eric was found dead from a fentanyl overdose. Several family members told investigators that they suspected that Kouri had something to do with Eric’s death & that he had warned them that if anything happened to him, she was to blame. Family indicated that Eric stayed with Kouri for the sake of his children. Eric had also suspected that Kouri was having an affair throughout their nine-year marriage & suspected that she was actively cheating on him before he died. 

One of Eric’s sisters said that a few years ago, he had called her from Greece while he vacationed with Kouri; he told her that he had gotten violently ill after drinking something that Kouri had given him. 

Eric held a joint life insurance policy with his business partner Cody Wright; they ran C&E Stone Masonry. Before Eric died, he removed Kouri from his will & life insurance, replacing Kouri with his sister & was beginning to move toward divorce, specifically indicating that he wanted his kids taken care of. He transferred their family home, all personal property & his share of the masonry business into a trust. Eric had expressed to two family members that he felt that Kouri might “kill him for the money” & wanted to be sure that his kids were financially secure if anything was to happen to him. The search warrant noted that in January of 2022, Kouri allegedly logged into the insurance policy & updated the policy agreement to make herself the sole beneficiary. The insurance company notified Eric & Cody & they changed it back to being each other’s beneficiary. 

Warrants indicate that Kouri learned that she’d been cut out of the will during a gathering at the family home on March 5, 2022, the day after Eric’s death. Up until that point, it was her understanding that she would gain control of their estate which was valued at over $3.6 million. Before his death, Eric & Kouri had been arguing over a $2 million dollar property that Kouri wanted to purchase to flip, but Eric thought it was too expensive. It was a 22,800 square foot mansion with a 3,000 square foot guest house between Midway & Heber City, Utah. The house had been sitting unfinished for more than five years, first constructed in 2017 with the intent of being used as a communal space for rent & usage though all work & construction on the house stopped by the end of 2019. The house was initially valued at $7.6 million  Family told police that Eric was going to tell Kouri that they were not going to purchase the home; this was the purchase that Kouri told police that they were celebrating the night he died. 

The mansion Kouri closed on the day after Eric died

The day after Eric died, Kouri signed the closing papers for the home & this same day, she invited friends over for what was described as “a large party at her home where she was drinking & celebrating.” The search warrant goes on to say that she assaulted Eric’s sister who showed up at the house. At this point, Kouri had no idea that she had been replaced by Eric’s sister in the will, putting her  in charge of the estate, making Kouri financially unstable. Documents indicate that Kouri asked Eric’s sister to leave her home to give her time & space to grieve the passing of her husband. Despite Kouri’s requests, his sister refused to leave & began threatening & verbally accosting Kouri. Two weeks after Eric died, Kouri put the home back online with an asking price of $4.8 million; the house is currently under contract with an asking price of $3.75 million; it has 8 bedrooms, 11.5 baths, an indoor pool, a golf simulator & a rock climbing wall.

On March 28, 2022, a few weeks after Eric’s death, Kouri sued Eric’s sister for control over the estate, claiming that the prenup entitled her to the family home, money & other assets. On June 15, 2013, the prenup was signed & stipulated that upon Eric’s death, the majority of the assets would go to Kouri. The decision about the prenup was influenced by Eric’s previous divorce from his first wife Julie who he married in 2005 & who tragically died in a car accident in 2011. In her lawsuit, Kouri claimed her entitlement to the money & also accused him of trying to deceive her by making changes without her knowledge; she also demanded $300,000 for the unjust enrichment of the trustees. Eric’s sister responded to the lawsuit by mentioning a homicide case. 

In April of 2023, Kouri did an interview with the show Good Things Utah as well as KPCW to promote a book she published on March 7 2023, almost a year to the day of Eric’s death. The book is called Are You With Me? The dedication of her book says, “to my amazing husband & a wonderful father.” During her interview she explains that she & her kids wrote the book on the different emotions experienced during the grieving process with the goal of helping other kids deal with the loss of a loved one; she explained that the year without Eric had been difficult but found the writing process to be therapeutic.

Kouri said that nighttime reading is a big part of her & her 10, 9 & 6-year-old boy’s lives & when she looked into purchasing a children’s book about grief, she couldn’t find one relevant to what she was looking for, so made the decision to write one herself.  She said she also hoped the process of writing the book would help her children find peace. She said that she always makes sure that her husband’s spirit is kept alive in her home, “Just because he’s not present here with us physically, that doesn’t mean that his presence isn’t here with us.” During the interview, she indicated a plan to publish sequels & the next title in the works was “Mom, how far away is heaven?” as well as a book for young girls struggling with grief & husbands who’ve lost their wives. 

On Friday, May 5, 2023, Kouri posted a reel of photos of her & Eric to Facebook & wrote, “Life is just so damn hard without you here! The cards I have been dealt just seem like a game that can’t be played.” While Kouri continued to build a name for herself as a grieving widow & new author, police continued to build a case against her for murder & on Monday, May 8, 2023, 33-year-old Kouri was arrested & charged with one first-degree felony count of aggravated murder as well as three second-degree felony counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Her detention hearing is set for May 19, 2023 & a judge is considering if she’s a flight risk or an ongoing threat to the community in deciding if she should be held in jail while the criminal case against her is pending. 


  1. Kouri Richin’s Warrant
  2. ABC News: Woman who wrote book on grief following husband’s death accused of murder
  3. KPCW: Summit County mom pens new book after unexpected death of husband
  4. Walker Mortuary: Eric Richins
  5. 2KUTV Warrant: Utah murder victim told family if anything happened to him, his wife was to blame
  6. KPCW: Summit County mom arrested for husband’s murder
  7. NBC News: Utah mom accused of killing husband with fentanyl in drink tried to poison him multiple times before , family says
  8. People: Husband of Children’s Book Author Accused of Murdering Him Suspected She Was Having Affair
  9. KPCW: ‘The Grand Home’: Kouri Richins’ unfinished Midway mansion could have buyer
  10. Fox13: Family spokesperson, friend remember Kamas man allegedly killed by wife
  11. Town Lift: The story behind Midway’s unfinished home
  12. Eric Richins’ last will and testament: Wife Kouri killed him because she thought she would inherit $3.6M

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