PARK CITY, Utah - Kouri Richins, a Utah mom of three and children's book author accused of killing her husband last year, allegedly Googled "luxury prisons for the rich" after his death, according to new court documents.
Prosecutors say Richins, 33, poisoned her husband, 39-year-old Eric Richins, with fentanyl the evening of March 3, 2022, at their home in Kamas, just outside of Park City, while their three young sons were sleeping.
She also told police after her husband was found dead that "he didn't just die in his sleep," records reveal.
Richins appeared in court on Monday, when she was denied bail.
New details of the case were revealed in court records, though, which show that investigators got access to Richins' phone and found various typo-ridden Google searches that they believe may be used as incriminating evidence against the suspect, though her defense team disagrees.
She apparently searched the following phrases beginning in April 2022: "luxury prisons for the rich in america," "how long does life insrance companies takento.pay [sic];" "can you delete everythjng on an old icloud account [sic]," "can deleted text messages be retrieved," "what information can be cbtained from a cellphone [sic]," "how to turn find my iphone off [sic]," "can cops force you to do a lie detector test," "when does FBI get involved in a case," "what is considered a lethal.dose of fentanyl [sic]," and "what are you allowed inside utah jails."
Woman silhouette at office window (Credit: Getty Images)
Richins' Google Search history also included a search for her own net worth, various inquiries about ranches for sale in Tennessee and Montana and searches for her husband's family's ties to police in Summit County, Utah.
The suspect's defense attorney, Skye Lazaro, filed a response to the state's allegations on Sunday, saying her "search history is merely in response to what was happening with the investigation, not evidence as of guilt as the State asserts."
Lazaro also pushed for Richins' release on bail "because there is no substantial evidence to support the charges," though a judge on Monday denied bail for the murder suspect.
Amy Richins, Eric’s sister, called her sister-in-law "desperate, greedy and extremely manipulative" in a statement read aloud during Richins' Monday bail hearing.
"How can anyone value human life so cheaply? I cannot comprehend it," she said.
Prosecutors allege Richins purchased four different life insurance policies on Eric Richins' life totaling more than $1.9 million between 2015 and 2017. On Jan. 1, 2022, months before his murder, Kouri "surreptitiously and without authorization changed the beneficiary for Eric's $2 million life insurance policy to herself," the document states.
Prior to his death, Eric took Kouri off his will and made his sister the beneficiary instead, according to investigators. His family told authorities he had been in fear for his life after Kouri allegedly tried to poison him once several years ago in Greece and again on Valentine's Day 2022.
The couple was apparently having financial disagreements due to Kouri's wish to purchase a $2 million mansion under construction in Wasatch County. She wanted to flip the mansion and sell it for a profit, a warrant states.
Eric apparently thought the home was too expensive, his family told investigators.
Kouri, who owns a real estate company, is accused of poisoning Eric with a Moscow Mule spiked with fentanyl, an opioid that is lethal in small doses, while they were celebrating a home sale March 3, 2022. The next day, Kouri allegedly closed a deal on the Wasatch County mansion "alone," after her husband was pronounced dead.
Kouri told investigators the morning of March 4, 2022, that she did not know what happened to her husband after calling police to report his death, according to a transcript from police-worn body camera footage taken at the scene of Eric's murder.
"He didn't just die in his sleep. This is insane," she told police at the time.
Later on, after finding out that her children heard their father had died, Kouri Richins apparently said, "Oh, my God. This can't be happening. This can't be happening. This can't be happening."
Kouri's defense attorney alleges that Summit County officials did not read Richins her Miranda rights while they questioned her after Eric Richins' death and apparently ignored communication from her counsel. She is arguing that as a result of alleged malpractice, investigators should "refrain from using the passcode to access Ms. Richins’ cell phone," the filing states.
Additionally, Kouri's defense team is taking issue with testimony from a witness identified as C.L. in court documents, who is currently in prison. C.L. told investigators that she sold fentanyl to Kouri prior to Eric's poisoning death, but Lazaro alleges that C.K. only identified the fentanyl after investigators pushed her to do so after questioning her for over an hour.
After Eric's death, Kouri wrote a children's book about death, "Are You With Me?"
A description for the book, which was listed on Amazon for $14.99, describes "Are You With Me?" as "a must-read for any child who has experienced the pain of loss, and for parents who want to provide their children with the emotional support they need to heal and grow."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.