Authorities remove evidence from an Observatory Park home in April 2014 as they investigate a homicide. (RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file)

Hearing postponed for man accused of wife’s Observatory Park killing

Richard Kirk has changed his plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity

A hearing has been rescheduled for a man accused of killing his wife after eating a marijuana candy after he changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.

The hearing for Richard Kirk, 49, had been set for Thursday. It was rescheduled because he has not yet been evaluated at the Colorado Mental Health Institute of Pueblo.

Kirk is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, 44-year-old Kristine Kirk in their Observatory Park home on April 14, 2014.

Hearing postponed for man accused of wife's Observatory Park killing
Richard Kirk (Provided by Denver Police Department)

He allegedly shot his wife hours after eating a portion of Karma Kandy Orange Ginger, a marijuana candy containing 10 servings of THC.

Kristine Kirk called 911 and pleaded for help as she told the operator her husband was ranting about the end of the world, asking her to shoot him and hallucinating.

More than 12 minutes after she called police, what sounded like a gunshot was heard, followed by silence. The couple’s three young sons were home at the time.

Five weeks before Kirk’s trial was set to start, he changed his plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Kirk was to be sent to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, where a court-appointed forensic psychiatrist was to complete an evaluation.

For a jury to decide Kirk was insane at the time of the shooting, the panel must find that he had an underlying mental condition that prevented him from understanding the difference between right and wrong.

Defense attorneys repeatedly have argued that on the night of the shooting, Kirk did not have the mental capacity to plan to kill or to kill his wife intentionally.

Prosecutors have rejected any arguments that Kirk was not acting intentionally. They claim the financial and emotional strain of his marriage contributed to a conscious decision to kill his wife.

Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206, kmitchell@denverpost.com or @kirkmitchell or denverpost.com/coldcases

This story was first published on DenverPost.com