PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — A judge ruled that a Utah mother of three who wrote a children’s book about dealing with grief after the death of her husband did and later did is accused of fatal poisoning He will remain in prison throughout the trial after her sister-in-law called her “desperate, greedy and extremely manipulative” during a court hearing.
Kouri Richins knelt with her head down and wept as an investigator testified that authorities found her husband dead and “cold to the touch,” and prosecutors argued the evidence against her was strong enough to deny her release on bail.
Her case became a real crime sensation last month when charges were brought while a mesmerized public pondered Richin’s remarks he made for Are You With Me? – the illustrated fairy tale book about a father dressed in angel wings who watches over his children after his death.
Monday’s detention hearing provided both prosecutors and Richins’ attorneys with an opportunity to take a look at their cases and offer opposing theories about what happened. Prosecutors called a detective, a private investigator and a forensic accountant to the witness stand who painted the picture of Richins calculatingly plotting to kill her husband after his death in March 2022, making financial arrangements and purchasing drugs found in his system .
In a victim impact statement she read in court, Amy Richins, Eric’s sister, said it was painful for the family to watch Kouri Richins promote “Are You With Me?” and called their actions “treason and terror”.
“Since Eric’s death, we’ve learned – and unfortunately we’re constantly reminded – that Kouri is desperate, greedy and highly manipulative,” she said.
“We saw Kouri strutting around posing as a grieving widow and victim while trying to cash in on my brother’s death – while trying to cash in on a book about his death and trying to get life insurance,” she added added.
Richins’ attorneys argued that the evidence against them was both dubious and circumstantial. They pointed out that no drugs were found in the family home after the death and suggested that the state’s star witness – the housekeeper who claims to have sold Richins the drugs – had the motivation to lie when she asked for leniency in the face of state and federal drug offenses.
“They essentially gave her evidence until she got it right,” Skye Lazaro, Richins’ attorney, said of police interviews with the housekeeper.
While a handcuffed Richins shook her head defiantly, prosecutors questioned investigators about the housekeeper who claims to have sold her fentanyl weeks before it was found in her husband’s system and in the family’s “emergency bags” full of emergency supplies and passports who allegedly had created her a flight risk for which bail is unsuitable.
She snorted deeply when they questioned the private investigator about the search history on their devices, including “luxury prison for the rich” and the information disclosed on death certificates.
And as members of both sides of the family sat behind them in the court stand, they questioned the forensic accountant about Richins’ personal financial difficulties and the millions of dollars at stake in her husband’s estate.
“One or two pills could be an accident. Twenty times – five times the lethal dose – is no coincidence. That is much. “This is someone who wanted Eric dead,” said Summit County Attorney General Patricia Cassell.
The detention hearing was based on court documents in which prosecutors accused Richins of putting five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in a Moscow Mule cocktail she prepared for her husband Eric Richins amid marital strife and rows over a multi-million dollar mansion, which she eventually bought as a wife investment.
The court documents paint a picture of a conniving wife who tried to fatally poison her husband on several occasions, including while on vacation in Greece and on Valentine’s Day weeks before his death. Witnesses interviewed as part of the investigation allege that in February 2022 she spiked hydrocodone into a sandwich prepared for him. On the day of his death in March 2022, she repeatedly denied her involvement, even telling police, “My husband is active. He doesn’t just die in his sleep. That’s crazy.”
In the court filing, Richins’ attorneys say that prosecutors “simply accepted” Eric Richins’ family’s account that his wife poisoned him, “and acted backwards to support it” by serving about 14 months with Investigating and not finding enough evidence to support their theory. She said the prosecution’s case, which relied on Richins’ financial motives, proved she was “bad at math,” not that she was guilty of murder.
“Bad money management doesn’t make you a murderer,” Lazaro said.
The case has put a spotlight on the communities behind Utah’s Wasatch Mountains near Park City, one of the premier skiing, hiking and recreational destinations in the western United States. The couple and their three sons lived in a new development in the town of Francis, about 50 miles east of Salt Lake City. According to court records, they were arguing over whether to buy an unfinished 20,000-square-foot (1,860-square-meter) mansion in nearby Midway Utah.
If the case goes to court, financial and marital disputes are likely to be the focus of possible motives. In addition to the real estate dispute, prosecutors also say that Kouri Richins made significant changes to the family’s estate plans prior to her husband’s death. taking out life insurance Policies for him totaling almost $2 million in benefits.