State’s star witness in Kouri Richins’ murder trial appears in court
The witness expected to testify that she provided Kouri Richins with illicit fentanyl was already on probation for unrelated drug charges.
The witness is a housekeeper prosecutors say Kouri Richins contracted to clean homes she bought and sold for her business, Kouri Richins Realty.
The housekeeper pleaded guilty in Fourth District Court to unrelated drug charges two years ago and is on probation. But now, her alleged involvement in the death of Eric Richins puts her in a complicated position.
Prosecutors accuse Kouri of killing her late husband Eric with fentanyl she procured from the housekeeper, whom KPCW is not identifying.
That would violate the terms of the housekeeper’s probation, which means she may be taken back into custody. But her lawyer says she’s cooperating with prosecutors who will likely ask her to testify against Kouri during the murder trial.
If she does testify, she may get more forgiving probation terms. Currently, the witness is required to wear a tracking device and check in daily with a probation officer.
The court was clear Thursday: there’s no chance of lighter probation until the housekeeper testifies.
Her defense attorney said the Richins case was “dragging.” The next hearing is in September, and it will only be a brief scheduling conference to set the date of the next hearing after that.
The prosecution signaled the housekeeper would earn a reduced sentence or lighter probation terms if she testifies, even though she'd be testifying to violating her probation.
“I think it would be in the best interest of the defendant to wait, so she has that opportunity to earn a lighter sanction,” the prosecutor said.
Until then, the judge isn’t changing the terms of her probation.