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Husband who blamed ‘marijuana-infused candy’ for shooting his wife sentenced to 30 years in prison

April 9, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Husband who blamed ‘marijuana-infused candy’ for shooting his wife sentenced to 30 years in prison

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A man from Denver, who asserted that consuming marijuana-infused candy cause him to kill his wife, was sentenced to 30 years behind bars on Friday in a case that raised concerns about the potency of marijuana edibles.

Richard Kirk, 50, was charged in the 2014 fatal shooting of Kristine Kirk at the couple’s residence.

Seconds before he shot her, the victim told a 911 dispatcher that her husband was hallucinating and was getting a gun after he ate pot edibles, the Daily Mail reported.

The defendant originally pleaded not guilty to murder but right before he was about to go to trial, he altered his plea to not guilty because of insanity, arguing that he was inebriated with THC, marijuana’s psychoactive agent.

In February, he accepted a plea deal of second-degree murder, which helped him avoid a possible life sentence that could have come with a conviction on the more severe charge.

Richard Kirk (left) claimed that eating marijuana-infused candy caused him to kill his wife Kristine (right)

Under the plea agreement, Kirk also permitted his wife’s parents, Marti and Wayne Kohnke, to adopt their three children.

Prosecutor Helen Morgan said that Kirk’s use of marijuana played a role in choosing to offer a plea deal.

“There was a myriad of factors that went into it, but it was certainly one of them. One of many,” Morgan stated.

Kirk’s lawyers asked for leniency because he had taken THC to ease back pain and that it had severely clouded his judgment.

They also asserted that he suffered “involuntary intoxication” because he was unaware that he was at risk for psychosis due to schizophrenia in his family.

Denver District Judge Martin Egelhoff did not discuss that argument in sentencing Kirk.

Authorities said low levels of THC were found in his blood, and a partially eaten piece of marijuana candy was found in the house (pictured)

Officials have said that low levels of THC were recovered in Kirk’s blood, and a partially consumed piece of marijuana-infused candy was discovered in the house. They have not indicated what role, if any, they believed pot played in the incident.

According to detectives, the couple had worsening marital and financial issues, and Kristine Kirk had told a friend she was afraid of her spouse because they were fighting so much – a conclusion debated by defense attorneys.

Kristine Kirk told dispatchers that her husband was acting drunk rather than violent.

However, prosecutors contended he had the capacity to remember the code to a gun safe and managed to press the firearm to his wife’s head.

District Attorney Beth McCann has said that a deal was reached because the family wished to avoid a trial because of the emotional suffering they have gone through.

“On the evening she needed me, I wasn’t there,” Marti Kohnke said. “I couldn’t save her, and I will live with the guilt for the rest of my life. My daughter’s murder was the culmination of a lifetime of his bad choices.”

Last year, Kristine’s family sued two businesses that sold the edibles to Richard Kirk, claiming that they failed to warn him about its strength and potential side effects.

In response to the Kirk case and the death of a Wyoming college student who jumped off of a balcony after eating a potent marijuana cookie, Colorado policymakers enforced stricter regulations on marijuana edibles that became widely used after the state legalized recreational marijuana businesses. The state also now has more stringent limits on how much weed they can contain.

Kirk said in court that if he had not taken the marijuana-infused candy, his wife would still be alive.

“I had no idea how it would affect me. … I’m so sorry that I became the monster I was supposed to protect them from,” he said.

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