Attorneys for a Utah author accused of poisoning her husband with a spiked drink and then writing a children’s book about how to cope with grief are seeking her release from jail, arguing in newly filed court documents that a witness for the prosecution gave conflicting information and that weeks before his death friends said the couple seemed “happier” than ever.
The author, Kouri Richins, was arrested and charged with killing Eric Richins last year during a quiet celebration at their home in Kamas, Utah, about 40 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, after she closed on a home for her business, according to authorities.
A medical examiner said Eric Richins had five times the lethal dosage of fentanyl in his system at the time of his death on March 4, 2022.
Affidavits for search warrants obtained from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office allege that Eric Richins had suspected his wife had tried to poison him multiple times and warned his family that she was to blame if anything happened to him. He also told a friend that he thought his wife was trying to poison him, prosecutors said.
Attorneys for Richins, however, argue that “there has not been a single text message or other document turned over in discovery to support the allegation that Eric ever believed Kouri attempted to poison him,” according to the court filing.
The document says that during a Greece trip, Eric Richins became ill after a waitress gave him an alcoholic drink even though he said he could not have alcohol due to medication he was taking for Lyme disease.
“According to the accounts of the mutual friends, Kouri immediately took Eric back to the room, called his doctor and found a pharmacy to purchase the medications and attended to Eric until he felt better. Several hours later Eric and Kouri rejoined their friends,” it says.
The defense also briefly discusses events surrounding a Valentine’s Day meal last year. Prosecutors allege that Eric Richins “broke out in hives and had difficulty breathing” after eating a sandwich his wife made for him.
Richins’ attorneys say she bought lunch for the both of them from a local eatery and after lunch Eric Richins started to not feel well and decided to take a nap. The documents says that a nanny for their children “witnessed that Eric had no hives and was not acting ill.”
“On February 20, 2022, Eric and Kouri met different friends at a bar for drinks. Witness accounts state they had never seen Eric and Kouri happier and that Eric made jokes about being allergic to allergy medication,” it says.
A family spokesperson could not immediately be reached on Saturday.
Richins defense team also say that a witness for the state, identified in court documents as C.L., has given conflicting information about alleged fentanyl pills Richins purchased. According to the filing, C.L initially said that Richins purchased the pills three times before her husband’s death but later said that Richins had bought the pills twice before Eric Richins’ died and once after.
The defense says Richins should be eligible for bail because “there is no substantial evidence to support the charges.” Richins’ next court appearance is Monday.
Minyvonne Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.