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POT CANDY: Police Say Man That Killed Wife May Have Been High

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(CNN) — A man accused of killing his wife while she frantically spoke to a 911 operator bought marijuana candy just hours before the deadly shooting, police said Thursday.

Now Richard Kirk, 47, faces a first-degree murder charge. And authorities are facing questions about why it took them so long to reach the family’s Denver home.

For nearly 13 minutes, Kristine Kirk told 911 she feared for herself and their three scared children. She screamed when her husband went to the family safe and grabbed a gun.

The 911 operator heard what sounded like a gunshot.

Then “the screaming stopped,” Denver Police Detective Mark Crider wrote in a search warrant affidavit. And Kristine Kirk, the detective wrote, was “never heard from again.”

When they arrived at her house, investigators found her dead on the floor with an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

Receipts and security camera footage showed Richard Kirk had purchased a candy called “Karma Kandy Orange Ginger” at a marijuana store in southeast Denver at 6:40 p.m. that night, the affidavit says. Investigators said they’ll examine a blood sample to determine whether Kirk was under the influence of any substances at the time of the shooting.

During her 911 call made just after 9:30 p.m., according to the affidavit, Kristine Kirk said her husband “had taken some marijuana and possibly some prescription medication for back pain.”

“Please hurry,” she told the dispatcher, adding that her husband was “totally hallucinating” and scaring their kids, the affidavit says.

The affidavit says Kristine Kirk sounded “panicked” but does not specify at what point in the 911 call her tone changed.

After authorities arrested Richard Kirk, the affidavit says, he started “rambling to himself” and told an officer “that he was the strongest in the Church of Latter Day Saints and he had killed his wife.” At the time, police believed he was under the influence of a controlled substance or prescription medication “based upon his speech patterns, his inability to focus and his pupils,” the affidavit says.

Colorado became the first state in the nation to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana, allowing pot stores to open for business on January 1.

At a court hearing Wednesday, Richard Kirk was ordered held without bail on an accusation of first-degree murder.

In response to questions about the incident, Denver Police Chief Robert White told reporters Thursday he had opened an internal review of why it took officers more than 12 minutes to respond, CNN affiliate KUSA reported.

“We want to know how long it took our officers from the time they were dispatched to get to that particular call,” he said.

Investigators will look at the time it took operators, dispatchers and police officers to handle the call, he said.

“We are going to look at all nuances in this situation. What, if anything, went wrong from our perspective? What we can do to mitigate instances like that in the future?” White said, according to KUSA.

A dispatcher has been placed on leave pending the investigation into the incident, the CNN affiliate reported, citing police officials.

The city of Denver auditor’s office this year began studying police response times, which have grown longer in recent years, the Denver Post reported. The report is expected in June, and police have cited fewer officers and limited budgets for hiring more officers since 2008 as causes for longer response times, the newspaper reported.

Kirk admitted that he killed his wife — “without questioning,” another police document says — when an officer put him in the backseat of a patrol car, the probable cause document says.

Lance Kirk, brother of Richard Kirk, told CNN affiliate KWGN that he was stunned to hear of the incident.

“I know that wasn’t Richard — let’s just say that,” Lance Kirk told the news outlet. “I hope there are some answers that come out about this.”

CNN’s Michael Martinez, Mariano Castillo, Stefan Simons, Kara Devlin and Dottie Evans contributed to this report.


  • Concerned Iowan

    Marijuana does not cause any of the things listed. Speech pattern, pupils, and inability to focus! What a joke. So why didn’t he kill his children also if he was hallucinating so much or so out of this world? Sounds like he knew exactly what he was doing and killed his intended target. There is always going to be someone or something to blame.

    • William Denison

      Now the scum will go to court and not even take ownership but instead he’ll blame it on cannabis. No sweat. Drunks have been doing it for years and it won’t fly.

    • Buddah

      Hes just blaming marijjana because he wants to get a way with it,every whos been eating and smokin cannabis understand it doesnt make you hallucinate,the worst thing that can happen is anxiety attack,if he was hallucinating then he wouldnt be able to get in gun safe because you need to get past the combinatiacombination, this guy showed no emotion,….like honestly if he was hallucinating then why did he tell cops he did kill her after he killed her ??now hes sayin he dont remember any of it ?you dont blame alcohol you don’t blame guns,you dont blame marijuana you blame whatever person did the crime

  • MaryJane

    maybe there was something besides just marijuana in the candy that was causing his reaction. yes, I agree, marijuana doesn’t cause these kinds of reactions.

  • William Denison

    The Law Enforcement lobby wants to do all they can nationwide just like here in Iowa to villainize cannabis. Its just the old “Reefer madness” stereo type. When the state of Iowa fines a person $300 for just having a pipe on their person it comes out to alot of hush money coming in.
    The open container law here in Iowa will cost ya not even close to that even when the can is full of that drug itself.

    • Rusty Weeks

      Um, what do you call Prohibition, then? And all the Mafia wars of the 20’s-40’s? They knew it was bootleg alcohol causing all of the trouble. They blamed it on the bathtub gin. Or the whiskey bought from a man using a radiator hose to distill it, and killing people because of the antifreeze still left in the radiator. Alcohol is no different than THC. Depressant, and some people cannot handle it. Even alcoholics get hallucinations. Believe me, I have worked with several people under the influence.

  • Mike Cee

    And the pot heads continue to be in denial about the negative side effects of their dope of choice.

    It’s clear from the comments that pot users continue to exhibit serious side effects, not only does it erode the users’ common sense, but study after study proves that dope smokers have poorer memories and lower mental aptitude than do us non-users.

    It’s especially funny to watch you dope smokers align your dope smoking with “drunks”, both are the realm of the dregs of society.

    • William Denison

      I agree Mike! All those sick and dying babys, Vets with PTD, cancer patients and the very long list of people it can help are all dregs of society…… Served up old school

    • Buddah

      What about all the good studies.ive been smoking for ever and i believe doing in in moderation,when i was a kid i use to smoke like crazy eating pot brownies and smoking oz and was still a straight A student,im in college right now and those studies are lying,for example the one where it says it causes brain damage thats a lie man,ive beem goin to college to study the brain.I know it sounds crazy but its actually good for brain,only bad part is the smoke because of your lungs. I encourage you to do some studying,have a good day bro

      • Billy Bob

        In the future, realize by responding the way you do, you’re helping the opponents of your view…bro

      • Rusty Weeks

        Dude, you totally sound stoned when you wrote this dude. Like, the way you totally blasted the English language, like for sure. And, ya know, dude; proving your point by not articulating in a more professional manner makes me not want you to study MY brain! Mike Cee, I agree with you, brother. Pot smoking is no different than drunks. The difference is that drunks are getting drunk within the peramiters of the law. Marijuana is still illegal in Iowa.

    • drew stephenson

      Hopefully someday you will put a little work in researching those studies yourself Mike Cee and change your opinion, I did after doing so.. I’m sure you knew that cannibis use to be the main ingredient in medicine when we used what god gave us, not man-made substances (which im sure are fine in your eyes) and all the benefits it has to offer just like other herbal plants. Did you know that people with cronic pain, epilepsy, crohn’s disease, cancer and more resort to cannibis because of the NEGATIVE effects and ineffective results from prescription drugs and other methods like chemo. There’s a reason you dont hear about the healing from plants/nutrition cause you listen to your doctor who prescribes you expensive man-made drugs not inexpensive herbal solutions, simply because they would loose money. And cannibis has positive effects on humans in general like brain development, you would know that if you didnt listen to the media or gov. which in my opinion is against cannabis or anything made naturally from the earth thats truely good for you. Like when Ron Woodroof found a natural remidy to live with aids but than the feds stripped his completely natural supplements from him cause they were not regulated by FDA while at the same time the FDA allowed a man-made drug trial that just killed body cells kill HIV/AID patients in hospitals. Believe the facts nothing else. Have a good one

  • gene e us

    Blaming it on marijuana! That’s funny. As one who no longer smokes it, its still easy to see how far fetched this is.

  • d

    common sense belongs to the person, THC is not the evil. please stop playing the blame game and look up real studies before you post. The American Medical Association said this should not be illegal when studys in the 30s were done but money and fear changed that. Consider yourself and that people live without you even knowing they use THC and contribute well to this society. While others who dont use can be far worse. Its about the person, please stop playing the blame game to make yourself satisfied. Look up studies done in europe that are not done by anti cannabis groups as well, there are companies who will loose profits in their own industry as this plant has alot of uses. These companies will make their own subsidiarys to do studies that are one sided. Just as has been done with the sweetener in diet soda, that stuff is worse for people and more addictive than regular sugar. The same is being done with electronic cigarettes as unless your state/fed gov can start unjustifiably taxing them heavily (this is the main push for “regulation” which will include this tax) or they are bound to loose many tax dollars. They dont care about the health just the money. We pay tax’s on every dollar we make on our paycheck, every dollar on every thing we already buy and then some for every little thing we do. Please stop playing the blame game and note that common sense belongs to the individual and nothing can take that away. I have gone through tremendous troubles with harder drugs than cannabis (which i do not even use, only did occasionally) and remain sensible and do not act like some doledrum fool i love to study the world around me and learn as much as possible and contribute in every way possible to my community. It all comes down to the person, the drugs did not have anything to do with this, and if anything it was the perscription drugs which are far worse than this plant.

  • d

    to make an edit, everything put into ecigs is already FDA approved if you were wondering. I would be for more research about safety but all they want is to tax. Obviously with tobacco this is the case.

  • Coffee Pot

    Dudes, all ya gotta do is roll ya up another big fattie, when these stories stress you out like this, I mean like ya aint gotta pesky job to go to anyway.

  • shaelynn82

    I find it funny how everyone is quick to blame marijuana for what bad people do and label pot smokers to be nothing more than a burden to society. I am a manager of a business here in Iowa. Have a college education and am very successful in my field of work. I also have been smoking pot for 19 years on am almost daily accord. Smoking pot doesn’t make you stupid, or make you kill someone, or rob people or places! How many bank robberies or break ins have you seen on the news that blame marijuana? Now how many from meth, crack, or other “man made bath tub” manufactured drugs? A stoners biggest problem after getting high is the fact they forgot to get their snack foods BEFORE they smoke and their too high to get it right then. Stop blaming a plant with many beneficial uses for the acts of a man who went crazy and killed someone! Marijuana has many great uses outside of the drug category but the best benefit I’ve noticed FOR ME is that my pain from my pain disorder is finally tolerable and I’m no longer needing to make trips to the e.r. almost daily to take the edge off so I can function again.
    Before you just someone for something make sure you have all the facts and not a biased opinion based on your ignorance to the many uses of natural plants

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