Hearing delayed for Utah author of children’s book on grief who is charged in husband’s death

Kouri Richins, a Utah mother of three, who wrote a children's book about coping with grief after her husband's death and was later accused of fatally poisoning him, looks on during a hearing Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in Park City, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — A Utah judge on Wednesday postponed a hearing to determine if prosecutors have enough evidence to proceed to trial in the case of a woman charged with fatally poisoning her husband before she published a children’s book about coping with grief.

Judge Richard Mrazik delayed the hearing until June 18-20 after prosecutors said they would need three days to present their evidence against Kouri Richins, whose lawyer says she is innocent.

Richins, 33, is charged with aggravated murder and other counts in her husband’s March 2022 fentanyl overdose death at their home in the mountain town of Park City. Prosecutors allege that she slipped five times’ the lethal dose of the synthetic opioid into a cocktail that her 39-year-old husband, Eric Richins, drank.

She previously tried to kill him with a spiked sandwich on Valentine’s Day, prosecutors allege.

Kouri Richins was having an affair at the time of her husband’s death and wanted to leave him but was worried that she might lose custody of their children and face financial difficulties in a divorce, prosecutors allege in court documents. They say she killed him for financial reasons and because she saw a future with her lover.

In the months leading up to her arrest last May, the mother of three self-published a children’s book, “Are You with Me?,” about a father with angel wings watching over his young son after dying. The book could play a key role for prosecutors in framing Eric Richins’ death as a calculated killing with an elaborate cover-up attempt.

Among the witnesses who could be called during the June hearing are relatives of the defendant and her late husband, a housekeeper who claims to have sold Kouri Richins the drugs, and friends of Eric Richins who have recounted phone conversations from the day prosecutors say he was first poisoned by his wife of nine years.

Defense attorney Skye Lazaro has argued that the evidence against her client is dubious and circumstantial. She suggested the housekeeper had motivation to lie as she sought leniency in the face of drug charges, and that Eric Richins’ sisters had a clear bias against her client amid a battle over his estate and a related assault case.

Kouri Richins was found guilty of misdemeanor charges Monday after she was accused of assaulting one of her husband’s sisters shortly after his death.


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