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How Kouri Richins learned she was cut out of her husband’s will

Kouri Richins
Kouri Richins

New filings in the trial of Kouri Richins for her husband Eric's murder reveal more about the life insurance policies she stood to benefit from, and the will that she didn’t.

New court filings indicate Kouri Richins learned two days after her husband’s death she was not named in his will.

On March 6, 2022, after Eric died from a fentanyl overdose, Kouri hired a locksmith to drill her husband’s safe. The new filings by the prosecution claim it held over $100,000 cash.

It was then that Eric’s sister told Kouri she was the trustee, suggesting Kouri had no right to get into the safe. Eric made his sister, not Kouri, the beneficiary of his $500,000 personal life insurance policy without his wife’s knowledge.

Prosecutors say Kouri was “enraged,” and punched her sister-in-law in response. She was subsequently charged with assault and pleaded no contest to a class B misdemeanor.

The new filings do not mention whether the assault happened during the gathering she held at the family home after Eric’s death, as is described in search warrants police obtained during the investigation.

Later that March, Kouri sued the sister for the rights to the property she and Eric held jointly under their prenuptial agreement.

But she wasn’t completely left hanging financially, as prosecutors describe, she opened at least four separate life insurance policies totaling $1.9 million between 2015 and 2017.

The new information also includes the value of Eric’s life insurance policy held jointly with his business partner: $2 million. Kouri allegedly made herself the sole beneficiary of that policy 2 months before Eric’s death.

The insurance company alerted Eric, and he changed it back. But it is unclear whether Kouri knew he had reinstated his business partner as the beneficiary.

The prosecution’s narrative indicates a financial motive.

As of March 1, 2022, Kouri owed $189,840 in unpaid state and federal taxes and owed a lender $1,847,760, and she talked to tax authorities and her lender on the phone March 3, the day before Eric died, prosecutors said.

She allegedly owed Eric $514,346 for financial decisions prosecutors say she made without his knowledge. Prosecutors say Kouri spent money from his bank account, credit cards, his business and a home equity line of credit on the family home.

When he discovered some of the spending in September 2020, Eric allegedly consulted a divorce attorney and estate planning attorney. That was when he changed his will, cutting Kouri out and his sister in.

The new information came a day before Kouri was set to appear in court for her detention hearing, which will determine if she is to be held without bail for the remainder of the trial.

But, her attorneys motioned for the hearing to be delayed, since the new filings add an additional component to the charge of aggravated murder, explicitly alleging Kouri killed her husband for financial gain.

The court agreed the defense should have more time to respond and approved the motion to delay the hearing, which is now scheduled for June 12.

Kouri’s attorneys did not respond for requests for comment in time for this report, and neither did a spokesperson for Eric’s family.

Parts of the prosecutors’ emerging narrative still raise questions, especially about the four accomplices involved in procuring the fentanyl Kouri is accused of using to kill her husband.

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