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Children’s author Kouri Richins is being charged again in connection with an earlier attempted murder of her husband

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah woman who authorities say fatally poisoned her husband in 2022 and then published a children’s book about grief now faces an additional attempted murder charge for killing him weeks earlier Valentine allegedly drugged.

Kouri Richins33, is accused of killing her husband with a fatal dose of fentanyl in March 2022 at their home in a small mountain town near Park City. New charging documents filed Monday by the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office allege this was not their first attempt on his life.

They detail the dangerous months leading up to Eric Richins’ death, painting a picture of a paranoid man walking on eggshells around his wife as she makes secret financial arrangements and purchases illegal drugs that are later found in his body.

Prosecutors had previously said Kouri Richins, who is being held without bail, may have tried to poison her husband a month before his death, but they only filed the additional charges this week.

The chilling case of a once-popular author accused of profiting from her own violent crime has captivated true crime fans in the year she was arrested the murder of her husband. She had self-published “Are You With Me?” – an illustrated storybook about a father with angel wings who watches over his young son after death.

The book, once hailed as a heartwarming must-read for every child who has lost a loved one, has since become a powerful tool for prosecutors who argue that Kouri Richins carried out a calculated assassination attempt and a cover-up.

The mother of three repeatedly called her husband’s death unexpected while promoting her book and has been praised by many for helping her sons and other young children cope with the death of a parent.

Her attorney, Skye Lazaro, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new charges. Lazaro has argued in early hearings that the evidence was against her client doubtful and complicated.

A bite of his favorite sandwich – which he left with a note in the front seat of his truck on Valentine’s Day – caused Eric Richins, 39, to break out in hives and faint, prosecutors allege in the new documents.

His wife had purchased the sandwich at a local restaurant in the town of Kamas the same week that she also purchased several dozen fentanyl pills, according to witness statements and deleted text messages recovered by police.

The state’s key witness, a housekeeper who claims she sold her the drugs, told law enforcement that she gave Kouri Richins the pills a few days before Valentine’s Day. Later that month, Richins allegedly told the housekeeper that the pills she provided were not strong enough and asked her to get stronger fentanyl, according to new charging documents.

In testimony, two of Eric Richins’ friends recount phone conversations on the day prosecutors now say he was poisoned for the first time by his wife of nine years. After injecting himself with his son’s EpiPen and drinking a bottle of Benadryl, he awoke from a deep sleep and told a friend, “I think my wife tried to poison me.”

His friends said they noticed the fear in his voice when Richins, who had no known allergies, told them he felt like he was dying and that his wife might be to blame. Opioids, including fentanyl, can cause severe allergic reactions, including hives.

A month later, Kouri Richins called 911 in the middle of the night and reported that she had found her husband “cold to the touch” at the foot of their bed, according to the police report. He was pronounced dead and a medical examiner later found five times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his body.

“One or two pills could be a coincidence. Twenty times – five times the lethal dose – is no coincidence. “This is someone who wants Eric dead,” said Summit County Chief Prosecutor Patricia Cassell.

She alleges Richins smuggled the synthetic opioid into a Moscow Mule cocktail she made for her husband amid marital strife and disputes over a multimillion-dollar mansion she bought as an investment.

Years before her husband’s death, Kouri Richins took out numerous life insurance policies on Eric Richins without his knowledge, with benefits totaling nearly $2 million, prosecutors allege.

Kouri Richins was also charged Monday with mortgage fraud and insurance fraud for allegedly falsifying loan applications and fraudulently claiming insurance benefits after his death.

Prosecutors argue that she was in financial distress when her husband died and say she mistakenly believed she would inherit his estate under the terms of her prenuptial agreement. Newly released documents showed she had a negative account balance, owed lenders more than $1.8 million and was being sued by a creditor.

Charging documents show that Eric Richins met with a divorce attorney and an estate planner in October 2020, a month after he discovered that his wife had made some important financial decisions without his knowledge. The couple’s prenuptial agreement only allowed Kouri Richins to benefit from her husband’s successful stonemasonry business if he died while they were still married.

Utah law prohibits anyone convicted of murder from profiting financially from their crime.

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