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Kouri Richins will not face death penalty if convicted

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PARK CITY, Utah — The Kamas mother accused of killing her husband by secretly giving him a fatal dose of fentanyl, and then writing a children’s book about grieving the loss of a loved one, will not face the death penalty if convicted.

Kouri Darden Richins, 34, is charged with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in connection with the March 2022 death of her husband, 39-year-old Eric Richins. Under Utah law, a person convicted of aggravated murder can be sentenced to death.

On Friday, however, prosecutors with the Summit County Attorney’s Offie filed a notice in 3rd District Court stating they will not go that route if Richins in convicted.

“This decision was made in careful consultation with Eric Richins’ father and his two sisters,” the notice states. “This matter is therefore a non-capital first-degree felony.”

In 2022, Eric Richins died unexpectedly at his home. A toxicology report from the state medical examiner determined that he “died from an overdose of fentanyl” that was “approximately five times the lethal dosage,” according to charging documents, even though Richins was not a known drug user. After her husband’s death, Kouri Richins wrote a children’s book aimed at helping families dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one.

In June, a judge ordered that Richins remain in custody as the court case moves forward. Her next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 1.

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