A Complete Timeline Of Kouri Richins' Murder Case

The murder case involving Kouri Richins is by far one of the most bizarre to take place in recent years. The alleged killer in the case, Kouri, actually came to public attention a few months before she was arrested for murder, but for completely different reasons. In 2013, Kouri married her husband Eric Richins and the couple had three kids together, but he died nine years later in March 2022 from fentanyl poisoning. At the time, the couple had been having marital problems and arguing over work.

Kouri released a book almost exactly a year after his death, called "Are You With Me?" The book dealt with the topic of loss and grieving, and she even did a televised book tour where she talked about how hard it was for her family to deal with his death. Yet, barely two months after that, on May 8, 2023, Kouri was behind bars and charged with Eric's murder. The allegations spread in the news media like wildfire, and soon her story was plastered all over international media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Kouri and her lawyers have proclaimed her innocence, but as of October 2023, she had not entered an official plea. Things are still winding their way through the court system, but this is the complete timeline of the Kouri Richins murder case so far.

June 15, 2013: Kouri and Eric Richins get married

The saga of Eric and Kouri Richins began over a decade ago, prior to getting married. They had their first son together in 2012, and their wedding date was June 15, 2013. It should have been the happiest day in both of their lives, and photos from the wedding show both of them joyfully standing outside celebrating their love. They were married in their own backyard and it looked like a beautiful day, and for several years things appear to have gone on fine with the couple.

In Eric's obituary, it states that they had two more kids together during their nine-year marriage, and they were 9, 7, and 5 years old at the time of Eric's untimely death in 2022. Eric seems like he was the ultimate dad, coaching all of his sons' sports teams, and he was also big on outdoor activities like hunting and riding motorized vehicles. His nickname was Rico, and the couple lived in Francis, Utah, just outside of Park City.

Yet, while things may have seemed to be going well on the outside, at some point trouble started brewing. One of Eric's sisters alleged that Kouri may have tried to poison him years prior to his death, but that's unsubstantiated (via The Washington Post). Either way, the relationship had broken down by 2022, right around the time Eric died — coincidentally or not.

2015 to September 2020: Kouri starts stealing

As a safeguard against future problems, Eric and Kouri Richins had a prenuptial agreement in place when they got married. In hindsight, the agreement certainly has some interesting and quite revealing provisions. According to the prosecution, there was a special contingency which gave Kouri control over all of Eric's assets, but only in the event that he died while they were still married.

In her lawsuit against Kouri, Eric's sister Katie Richins-Benson alleged that by 2016 Kouri was already in financial distress, but that three years later in 2019 she opened her own real estate business. However, the business was far from successful and started hemorrhaging money. Kouri may have started stealing from Eric to help herself, as she was as much as $6 million in debt around the time of his death. In September 2020, Eric became aware that his wife had already taken more than $500,000 from him in credit, loans, and tax payments from his business without his knowledge.

Prior to this, Kouri had also opened several life insurance policies on Eric also without his knowledge beginning in 2015, with total payouts amounting to just shy of $2 million. If the prosecution and Richins-Benson's lawsuit are to be believed, they paint a very damning picture of Kouri in the years leading up to Eric's death, and one that points to several potential motives for his murder.

October 2020: Eric consults multiple lawyers

When Eric Richins realized that his wife Kouri Richins had been stealing from him for years in September 2020, he was probably more than a little bit upset (per the prosecution). Additionally, he also found out that his wife had been forging his initials on legal documents to give herself Power of Attorney to help secure $250,000 in fraudulent loans with his credit (per Katie Richins-Benson's lawsuit).

Understandably, two of his first actions the next month upon learning about his wife's betrayal were to consult multiple attorneys, change his will, and create a trust that Kouri had no control over. Eric considered divorce and seemingly looked at planning a future that did not include her, but they ultimately decided to stay together. It was obvious by this point that the marriage was in danger and there were some serious trust issues, but they somehow managed to keep from splitting apart. Tragically, that may have been a fatal decision for Eric.

Part of their decision to stay together may have been that Kouri agreed to pay Eric back the money she stole from him, and they may have been further inclined to stay together due to their three young children. However, Kouri also alleges that around this time Eric had an affair, causing her to briefly move out, but that the couple eventually got past it (via CNN). There was trouble in paradise, but things would later get much worse.

January 1 to February 4, 2022: Kouri commits more insurance fraud

Even though Eric and Kouri Richins were seemingly moving past their deep issues, in January 2022, Kouri once again allegedly committed insurance fraud. Apparently, Kouri tried to change the beneficiary on a separate life insurance policy Eric held that did not involve her (per the prosecution). Eric held the policy with an unnamed business partner of his, and it was worth a pretty substantial sum of $2 million — more than Kouri would have made in her four fraudulent life insurance policies combined.

Kouri allegedly illegally made herself the beneficiary of the policy, so she would have been the one to collect in the event of his death. However, Kouri couldn't just unilaterally change the terms of Eric and his business partner's policies without them noticing, and when they did the change was reversed immediately. Later in the month, she was once again back trying to open up another life insurance policy in her husband's name, this one for $100,000, and it went into effect on February 4, 2022.

By now, any trust between the two of them had to be seriously compromised, as Kouri had committed serious insurance fraud barely a year after the revelations of her first scandal. Their marriage must have been on life support by this point, but Kouri would soon undertake even more questionable actions.

February 11 to March 1, 2022: Illicit narcotics and a potential poisoning

About a week after Kouri Richins' newest life insurance policy against her husband Eric Richins went into effect, she is alleged to have started buying large amounts of illicit fentanyl from a friend (per the prosecution). Kouri may have been trying to procure the fentanyl since the month prior, but she later deleted her messages before authorities could read what they were saying to each other.

On either February 11 or 12, 2022, Kouri purchased up to 30 illicit fentanyl pills from her friend, and that's where the story takes a dark twist. On Valentine's Day, Eric Richins seemingly had a brush with death after eating a sandwich allegedly made by Kouri. Eric thought that the sandwich was full of some kind of poison and that she was trying to kill him, even telling a friend as much. To be clear, there is no hard evidence that Kouri put any illicit fentanyl in Eric's sandwich.

Yet, the timing of everything is alarming for several reasons, including her text messages weeks later. Kouri allegedly started asking for even stronger narcotics from her friend after Eric's incident, and then she bought more fentanyl on the 26th. Additionally, early the next month her money problems appeared to be coming to a head, and she was more than $2 million in cumulative debt, including the full amount to her husband from September 2020. Then the unthinkable happened.

March 3-4, 2022: Eric dies from an overdose

There are conflicting reports about what may have happened on the night of March 3-4, 2022, when Eric Richins died from an overdose of five times the lethal dosage of illicit fentanyl (per the prosecution). According to Kouri Richins, his widow, the hours before his death were a celebration over a recent real estate sale she had made (via The Washington Post). This would be despite their recent tumultuous history, and members of Eric's family do not think there was any celebration at all.

One thing that's not in dispute is that around 9 p.m. Kouri made Eric a mixed drink which he drank in bed, and she says he also ate a marijuana-infused gummy, then he went to sleep. After this, Kouri says she went to comfort one of the couple's kids who was having bad dreams and didn't return to their marital bedroom until 3:00 a.m., at which point she found Eric unconscious (per Kouri Richins' arrest warrant). While Kouri says she was sleeping, there is evidence to indicate she was actively using her phone, texting, and moving during the six-hour window between Eric's drink and Kouri finding him.

Authorities believe that when Kouri made Eric his mixed drink she laced it with lots of illicit fentanyl, which ended up killing him. Eric was officially pronounced dead early in the morning of March 4, 2022.

March 6-9, 2022: Kouri steals more money

In the moments and days after her husband Eric Richins' death, his wife Kouri Richins displayed some peculiar behavior. For starters, she allegedly made more than a few questionable Google searches, including "can cops.uncover deleted.messages iphone," "what are you allowed inside [U]tah jails," and perhaps most damningly "what is considered a lethal.dose of fentanyl" (per Katie Richins-Benson's lawsuit).

Two days after Eric's death, on March 6, 2022, Kouri drilled into his safe and recovered at least $125,000 before having a violent altercation with one of his sisters (per the prosecution). At this point, Kouri learned about the trust Eric had set up in October 2020 after he had originally discovered she had been stealing from him, which probably only served to upset her even more.

In another troubling move, a few days after that on March 9, Kouri purchased another $1,300 worth of fentanyl through her same friend as before, utilizing a house she was selling through her real estate business as the drop-off point. It's hard to make sense of Kouri's movements at this point, and what exactly they mean as far as her potential culpability in the murder. However, it's important to keep in mind she was still a grieving widow and probably was not in the clearest frame of mind over her husband's death — even if it is eventually ruled that she did have a hand in causing it.

April 2022 to August 2023: Kouri contests Eric's trust

When Eric Richins died on March 4, 2022, from an overdose of fentanyl, it triggered a clause in his estate and trust to make his sister Katie Richins-Benson the head trustee, succeeding him (per Richins-Benson's lawsuit). This went into effect on April 13, 2022, but his widow Kouri Richins had already filed a lawsuit to claim the assets from the trust for herself.

In November 2022, eight months after Eric's death, Kouri found herself named in a civil lawsuit related to her real estate business. Back in 2019, Kouri had flipped a house in Heber City, Utah, to a couple, but they allege that she hid serious water damage issues from them before they made the nearly half-a-million-dollar purchase. Kouri's real estate company denied any wrongdoing, but it doesn't paint the best picture of her business.

In August 2023, nearly a year and a half after Kouri originally filed her lawsuit against her sister-in-law Richins-Benson, a court issued partial summary judgments in Richins-Benson's favor, awarding her control of the trust and its $2 million in benefits. The judge also refused other motions by Kouri to give herself control, too. At the time of the judgment, Kouri was still seeking to replace Richins-Benson as the trustee of the estate, which would entitle her to the $2 million in benefits, which the judge did not rule on.

March to April 2023: Kouri publishes a children's book

In the year following the death of Kouri Richins' husband Eric Richins, Kouri spent a lot of time with her kids writing and creating a children's book that would eventually be titled "Are You With Me?" She published the book on March 7, 2023, nearly a year to the date of Eric's passing, and the story revolved around a family dealing with the loss of their father, an obvious allegory for her family's own life.

At the time, Kouri was not publicly known to be a suspect in Eric's death, and she went on a brief publicity tour that included interviews on local news stations. On April 6, 2023, she appeared on the program "Good Things Utah" on ABC4, during which she had a sit down interview with the host and discussed her struggles dealing with the loss of Eric. By all accounts, she came off as sympathetic and caring, and few would have believed the incredible charges based on how she presented herself on TV.

Yet, once it emerged that Kouri was a suspect in the murder, Amazon ceased selling her book and people began to question whether that was the real Kouri that day on TV. Yet, for Kouri, declining book sales were the least of her problems.

May 8, 2023: Kouri is arrested for murder and drug possession

On May 8, 2023, the hammer finally dropped on Kouri Richins and she was arrested for the alleged murder of her husband Eric Richins on March 3-4, 2022. In her arrest warrant, authorities leveled four different charges against her, the most serious of which was criminal homicide, aggravated murder (domestic violence), a first-degree felony. In addition to the singular charge of murder, Kouri also faces three separate counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, which authorities identified as gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, a drug the DEA claims can cause amnesia and drowsiness.

When news broke about Kouri's arrest and imprisonment, the national media erupted. While her story and publicity tour had failed to make much of an impact the month prior, by the end of the day on May 8 she was a household name throughout the country and people everywhere were discussing her book, just probably not in the way she was hoping. 

Incredibly, the news actually gave her book a bump in sales before Amazon stopped making it available for purchase. Her first court hearing was set for a week and a half later, and now roughly a year after the death of her husband, Kouri found herself behind bars for the first time.

June 2023: Kouri is denied bail

After being behind bars for a month for the murder of her husband Eric Richins, on June 9, 2023, Kouri Richins filed a civil lawsuit against her dead husband's estate. Among the things she was asking for were the title to their family home, half of the home's equity value, as well as money that came into the estate following the sale of his business. This is in addition to her ongoing lawsuits asking for control of the trust altogether.

Just a few days later, on June 12, a judge officially denied Kouri bail after prosecutors were able to present compelling enough evidence to convince him to keep her behind bars. The defense tried to poke holes in the prosecution's theory but to no avail. A few weeks after she was denied bail, Kouri was hit with a $13 million lawsuit by Eric's sister Katie Richins-Benson. The lawsuit alleges massive financial improprieties against Kouri and even asks for all sales from her March 2023 book to be awarded to Richins-Benson.

In at least one piece of positive news for Kouri, in August 2023 prosecutors announced she would not be facing the death penalty. It was a small victory, but one that ensures that no matter what she will not spend the next several decades languishing on death row, even if she is still behind bars.

September to October 2023: The 'Walk the Dog' letter

As if the Eric and Kouri Richins' murder case needed any more twists, in late September 2023, the now infamous "Walk the Dog" letter came to public attention. Apparently, authorities found a note inside her jail cell that said "Walk the Dog" at the top. The document was six pages long and it had some extraordinary claims about Eric's personal life, even alleging drug addiction, but that wasn't what authorities were worried about.

Prosecutors saw the letter as potentially instructing Kouri's family to give false or coached testimony to prosecutors, which could be considered witness tampering given their close connection to the case. Kouri completely denied these allegations, saying that what prosecutors saw was actually just a fraction of an ongoing manuscript regarding a fictional story she was writing about being in a Mexican prison. However, the note doesn't exactly read like any sort of traditional novel, and her choice to use the exact same names as the people involved in her ongoing murder case would be dubious at best.

In early October, after Kouri had been behind bars for five months, her defense attorneys asked that her case be dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct. They argued the prosecutors had violated a gag order and were biased against her, rendering it impossible for her to get a fair trial. However, as of October 2023, Kouri was still in jail and had yet to enter an official plea.