Kouri Richins’ defense files conditions for her release
Summit County Attorney's Office argues Kamas mother poses 'extreme danger to the community'
Defense attorneys representing the Kamas mother charged with the murder of her husband have filed a motion to set conditions for her release ahead of a detention hearing scheduled on Monday, but Summit County prosecutors argue Kouri Richins should be held without bail until the trial.
The documents filed in the Third District Court on Friday provide new insight into what the 33-year-old’s legal defense may be, and address allegations raised by the Summit County Attorney’s Office in its filings.
Kouri’s legal team, led by Skye Lazaro, argued against what prosecutors said was a financial motive to kill her spouse, Eric Richins. The filings on Friday state Kouri shared several joint accounts with her husband, discussed a strained relationship between Eric and his business partner, and characterized Eric as someone who was “a partier and loved a good time.”
The court filing also provided details about a vacation to Greece in 2019 and a Valentine’s Day meal in 2022; both times, Eric became ill after consuming food or drinks. While prosecutors have alleged these may have been attempts by Kouri to poison Eric, the defense notes contradicting statements from witnesses who were present at the time.
Kouri’s defense noted several other inconsistencies with allegations made by prosecutors.
“Witness accounts state they had never seen Eric and Kouri happier and that Eric made jokes about being allergic to allergy medication,” the defense said about a Feb. 20 outing with the couple and friends.
Kouri told deputies with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office that he had recently received an allergy shot when they were dispatched to the couple’s home on March 4. The filings state law enforcement demanded a key witness, who allegedly provided the defendant with fentanyl and worked for her at one point as a housekeeper, provide details “that will ensure [Kouri] gets convicted of murder.”
The defense argued Kouri is not a flight risk and is eligible for bail because prosecutors “lack substantial evidence to support the charges.”
The County Attorney’s Office, meanwhile, affirms it can support the felony charge of aggravated murder.
Prosecutors referenced the fentanyl that was discovered in Eric’s body, determining that he died after ingesting five times the lethal amount, and statements made by Kouri that affirmed Eric did not use illicit drugs, apart from THC gummies. They also used bank records, life insurance filings and more to allege Kouri “murdered Eric Richins for pecuniary gain.”
The new court filings also indicate Kouri allegedly made incriminating internet searches. A second cell phone was seized during a second search of her home, which was also the day she was arrested.
The searches were: can cops force you to do a lie detector test; women Utah prison; what are you allowed inside Utah jails; if someone is poisoned what does it go down on the death certificate as; can FBI find deleted messages; when does the FBI get involved in a case; how long does life insurance companies take to pay; and more.
“As a defendant charged with aggravated murder, the Defendant presents the most extreme danger to the community possible. Poisoning is a disturbingly calculated murder method and money an ever present murder motive. But there is more. Chillingly, after murdering Eric Richins with illicit fentanyl, the Defendant obtained additional, stronger illicit fentanyl,” the documents state.
Documents indicate prosecutors are unaware of where the fentanyl is, and if it may be used again. Prosecutors said they have a recording from the Summit County Jail in which the defendant’s mother allegedly said Kouri is only a danger to one of Eric’s sisters, who is also his trustee. Kouri responded, “Yeah, ha, ha,” according to documents.
Another of Eric’s sisters has been designated as the victim representative. She has requested to be heard at the Monday detention hearing, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Monday in Judge Richard Mrazik’s courtroom.
“We need to ask ourselves: What would the animals do if people weren’t here?” said Erin Ferguson, the president of Save People Save Wildlife.
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