During Monday’s hearing, a judge heard from both parties and three witnesses before making a decision to continue holding Richins without bail during her pretrial period.
Richins dropped her head and cried as a detective testified about authorities finding her husband dead and “cold to the touch,” and prosecutors argued the evidence against her was strong enough to deny her bail.
The detention hearing built off court documents in which prosecutors allege Richins slipped five times the lethal dose of fentanyl into a Moscow mule cocktail she made for her husband, Eric Richins, amid marital disputes and fights over a multimillion-dollar mansion she ultimately purchased as an investment.
Prosecutors called multiple witnesses, including Det. Jeff O’Driscoll, the lead investigator in the case.
O’Driscoll fielded questions about the relationship between Kouri Richins and “C.L.,” the friend and employee of Kouri who allegedly gave her the fentanyl used to allegedly kill Eric. He told prosecutors that Kouri Richins had received fentanyl pills from C.L. in early 2022. She allegedly told C.L. the pills were to help a client who was complaining of a back injury.
The questioning turned to the moments immediately after Eric’s death, when Kouri called 911, saying Eric was “cold to touch” and “not breathing.” According to O’Driscoll, first responding paramedics said Richins did not perform CPR on her husband, despite telling police that she had.
During the recounting, Richins could be seen in the courtroom with her head down and a tissue pressed against her eyes.
O’Driscoll also said a search of the Richins home found “bugout bags,” which were described as emergency use bags that include clothing and state IDs for every member of the Richins family in case they need to leave the house quickly.
The prosecution also brought Chris Kotrodimos, a private investigator formerly with the Salt Lake City Police Department and Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office who specializes in digital forensics, up to the stand. Kotrodimos said he was able to tell when the phone was locked, unlocked, and used to make calls or send messages or how it moved – including GPS data from an Apple Watch – during the time of Eric Richins’ death.
For their final witness, prosecutors brought financial forensics investigator Brooke Karrington.
During her testimony with the prosecution, Karrington said Kouri Richins’ business had been growing significantly, though she said it could have been problematic. When asked why, she said it could have been growing too fast and too strong which could mean a need to take on more debt.
In a victim impact statement she read in court, Amy Richins, Eric’s sister, said it was painful for the family to watch Kouri Richins promote “Are You With Me?” and called her actions “betrayal and terror.”
“Since Eric’s death, we have learned — and unfortunately are continually reminded — that Kouri is desperate, greedy and extremely manipulative,” she said. Through her statement, Eric’s sister painted a picture of her brother, saying he did everything he could to make sure his family was taken care of. She called him a true champion of the people and that he cared for every person he met.
“I may be naive, but I never knew evil like this existed,” she said. “We have watched as Kouri has paraded around portraying herself as a grieving widow and victim while trying to profit from the death of my brother — while trying to profit from a book about his death and trying to get life insurance.”
If the case goes to trial, it will likely revolve around financial and marital disputes as possible motives. In addition to arguing over real estate, prosecutors also say Kouri Richins made major changes to the family’s estate plans before her husband’s death, taking out life insurance policies on him with benefits totaling nearly $2 million.
Richins could still appeal for bail, though she only has a 30-day window to file the appeal.
The court will meet again on June 22 for a scheduling conference.