Kouri Richins had 'financial motive' to kill her husband, says Eric's family
Eric Richins’ family says Kouri should not profit from her alleged crime.
Utah has a law, called the "slayer statute," which says killers cannot profit from their crimes.
Now attorneys for the family of Eric Richins, who was found dead of a fentanyl overdose last March in their family home in Kamas, petitioned for the law to apply to his wife Kouri, who is charged with his murder.
Six months before he died, Eric changed his will to make his sister his trustee. She filed court documents to formally take over his estate after his death.
But Kouri contested the move, saying she is owed $3.6 million for the value of their family home, Eric’s business interests and other payments made by Kouri to maintain the home, where she lived up until her arrest May 8.
She has also sued Eric’s sister in a separate civil case, in which she could win control over the estate.
But if Kouri is found guilty of murder, she may not win either case. Eric’s family filed the petition invoking the slayer statute in the estate case Wednesday.
“Kouri had a financial motive to murder Eric,” it says.
The family’s petition claims Kouri, a realtor, began to have serious financial problems as early as 2016 and began to steal money from Eric to flip houses.
“Kouri hid from Eric the fact that she was stealing money from him,” the petition says.
But Eric learned in September 2020 she had withdrawn at least $100,000 from his bank account and spent $30,000 on his credit cards since 2016.
Shortly after that, he learned his wife had fraudulently used his power of attorney to secure a $250,000 loan. She also repeatedly took checks from his business and cashed them for her own benefit.
The petition states Kouri admitted to taking the money when Eric confronted her.
Kouri and her attorneys have been notified of the court petition in the case of Eric’s estate, but they have not filed a response as of Friday.
Mike Johnson, Kouri’s attorney, acknowledged invoking the slayer statute is a reasonable argument from the other side but it only has merit if Kouri is guilty.
“Whether or not that defense has any merit will depend upon really what happens in the criminal case, not the civil case,” Johnson said.
Kouri Richins remains in the Summit County jail. She is scheduled to be in court May 19 for a detention hearing.