Richard Kirk, the man who claimed eating marijuana candy led him to kill his wife, was sentenced on Friday to 30 years in prison.
Kirk appeared before Judge Martin Egelhoff after pleading guilty in February to second-degree murder. As part of the plea agreement, Kirk agreed to relinquish custody of his three sons to his wife’s parents, Marti and Wayne Kohnke. He also will serve five years of parole after his prison release.
Kirk shot his wife on April 14, 2014, as she was on the phone with a Denver 911 operator pleading for help. The phone call lasted 13 minutes as Kristine Kirk told an operator her husband was hallucinating, ranting about the end of the world and asking her to kill him.
Kristine Kirk was killed just seconds before Denver police officers arrived. The couple’s three sons were at home. The oldest two ran to the patrol car for help, and the youngest, then 7 years old, was found in a bedroom near where his mother was lying dead from a gunshot wound.
Kirk had bought marijuana-infused candy, and police found a partially eaten “Karma Kandy Orange Ginger” chew in the family’s Observatory Park home.
Kirk’s defense team attempted to blame THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot, for his erratic behavior. But a toxicology report from one of Kirk’s blood tests the night of the shooting showed he had just 2.3 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. The state’s legal limit for stoned driving is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter.
Kirk’s three sons have a wrongful-death lawsuit pending against the recreational marijuana industry. The lawsuit claimed that the company that made the orange ginger candy and the store that sold it failed to warn Kirk of its potency and possible side effects of hallucinations and other psychotic behaviors.