Denver man accused of killing wife after eating marijuana candy formally charged with murder

Store removes pot-edibles brand bought by husband

DENVER - A Denver man who police say had eaten marijuana-infused candy before shooting and killing his wife while she was on the phone with 911 was formally charged with first-degree murder Friday, the Denver District Attorney's Office said.

Court records say 44-year-old Kristine Kirk told a 911 operator on Monday night her husband had "taken some marijuana and possibly some prescription medication for back pain" before he started "hallucinating" and scaring her and the couple's three young children.

On the 911 recording, 47-year-old Richard Kirk can be heard in the background talking about taking marijuana "candy" that he had purchased from a recreational marijuana shop, the documents say.

Authorities say Kirk shot his wife in the head about 12 minutes into her call with 911, although 7NEWS has determined that it took Denver police at least 16 minutes to respond to the home at 2112 S. St. Paul St., near the University of Denver.

On Thursday, Denver Police Chief Robert White ordered an investigation into how police, dispatchers and 911 operators responded to what authorities initially described as a domestic violence call.

Early in the call, Kristine Kirk told the 911 operator to "please hurry" and send officers because her husband was "totally hallucinating" and frightening their children, the document says.

She said "her husband was talking like it was the end of the world…he had asked her to get the gun and to shoot him, and she is scared of what he might do because her three children are in the house with her," the document said.

"At one point during the call Mrs. Kirk sounds panicked and tells the 911 operator that Richard was taking the firearm out of the safe. She next related that he had the gun and she didn't know where to go," the document states.

Within seconds, the wife "can be heard screaming. The screaming stopped after hearing what [the detective] believes is the sound of a gunshot. The 911 phone line remained open, but Mrs. Kirk is never heard from again," the detective writes.

Police arrived to find the wife lying on the floor of a front room of the house with a gunshot wound to her head, documents said. A black semi-automatic handgun was found on the floor in a nearby hallway.  

Richard Kirk was arrested and is being held without bond at the Downtown Detention Center.

While searching the home, a detective found a receipt in the basement for $32.70 worth of marijuana products purchased at 6:40 p.m. that evening from Nutritional Elements, a marijuana shop, at 2777 S. Colorado Blvd.

The receipt identified the purchased items as "Karma Kandy Orange Ginger," an edible marijuana candy, and "Pre 98 Bubba Kush Pre-Roll," a pre-rolled marijuana cigarette, the document said.

A woman identifying herself as the operational manager for Nutritional Elements said the store has removed from its shelves Karma Kandy Orange Ginger and all other marijuana edible made by Gaia's Garden, a Denver firm that calls itself "Colorado’s most premier medicinally-infused confections company."

Karma Kandy's packaging says the 10-gram candy contains 101 milligrams of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Gaia's website says of Karma Kandy: "A single bite is enough, even for those with intense medicinal needs."

The Nutritional Elements' manager told 7NEWS, "This is such a horrible tragedy that has occurred…Our hearts go out to this family. It's just really inappropriate to speculate on anything at this time. And we are working with the authorities."

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