DENVER - A Denver man accused of shooting and killing his wife also told his 7-year-old son the boy needed to kill him, so "dad and mom could be together with God," a police detective testified Friday.
During a preliminary hearing for Richard Kirk in Denver District Court, Detective Troy Bisgard testified that the 7-year-old told police his mom and dad fought and that his dad shot his mom on the night of April 14.
Kirk is accused of shooting his wife, Kristine Kirk, once in the head while she was on the phone with 911, urging the operator to "please hurry" and get police to their Observatory Park home.
According court records, Kirk, who suffers from a bad back, had purchased and consumed marijuana-infused candy just hours before the killing. The detective testified a blood sample taken from Kirk about 2:30 a.m. -- more than four hours after the killing -- showed he had a low level of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system. While his wife told 911 he might have also taken prescription painkillers, the blood test found no evidence of that medication.
The wife told 911 her husband was "totally hallucinating," talking like it was the end of the world and asking her to shoot him. She stressed that she had their three young sons in the home and she was "scared about what he might do," court records state.
At one point in the 911 recording, the wife said, "Fine, I'll do it just give me the gun," Bisgard said.
Then, about 12 minutes into the call, she sounds panicked, telling the operator that her husband is taking the gun out of a safe. She said he had the gun and she didn't know where to go, court records state.
Bisgard said there's the sound of Kristine Kirk suddenly moving and screaming, then a gunshot -- and silence.
Fortunately, the 9mm semiautomatic handgun malfunctioned and Richard Kirk couldn’t fire it again. The detective said police believe the gun malfunctioned because the bullet magazine was not properly seated in the gun’s handle. So the gun fired the one bullet in the chamber that killed the wife, but it wouldn’t load another bullet into the chamber from the magazine.
Bisgard said police found an unspent bullet in the 7-year-old son's room.
Officers arrived at the home just before 10 p.m., to find two of the couple's sons waiting outside the front door. Their mother was lying dead in a front room and the handgun was on the floor. The father and the 7-year-old son were found inside.
The detective said Richard Kirk had purchased the marijuana-infused candy and a pre-rolled pot cigarette at about 6:40 p.m. -- just hours before the killing.
Bisgard testified the couple had been having marital and financial troubles. They owed the IRS $2,500 and had more than $40,000 in credit card debt.
A few months before the killing, the couple had argued over Richard Kirk mishandling a Groupon purchase for hotel stay in Glenwood Springs, Bisgard testified. Friends told police the husband had angrily cursed Kristine and his reaction had frightened her.
Kristine Kirk had shared her concerns about her husband's combativeness in a March Skype conversation with her sister.
After the argument, Richard Kirk shifted the direct deposit of his paycheck from the couple's joint bank account to his personal account, the detective said.
The husband also asked if he could move in with a friend, but the friend said no, Bisgard recounted.
At the end of the hearing, a judge ruled that there is sufficient evidence to make Richard Kirk stand trial for first-degree murder. He continues to be held without bond in Denver jail. His arraignment is set for Oct. 10.