Man charged with first-degree murder in death of wife

DENVER – The Denver District Attorney filed formal charges Friday against a man accused of killing his wife.

Richard Kirk is being charged with first-degree murder. Denver Police say Richard shot and killed his wife, Kris, Monday night.

The 44-year-old mother of three was on the phone with 911 when she was shot.

She told the 911 operator Richard had taken prescription medication and consumed marijuana candy. Kris told the operator he was hallucinating before she was shot.

"This just isn't explainable," Richard's younger brother Lance Kirk said. "He's hurting," Lance said. "He told me that he doesn't remember anything. The first thing he remembers is the cops were shining the lights in his face."

Lance says his brother was heavily involved in the Mormon Church.

A search warrant obtained by 9NEWS reveals Richard purchased two marijuana items at a store the night he allegedly killed his wife, Kris.

Richard's blood will be tested to see if narcotics/medications/marijuana were in his system.

Their three small children were inside the home when the shooting happened. Denver Police say they're looking at what role, if any, marijuana played in this incident.

Police officers responding on scene said Richard was "rambling to himself" in the back of the patrol car. He told the officer "he was the strongest in the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and he had killed his wife."

A detective, trained in effects of marijuana and prescription pills, documented Richard "appeared to be under the influence of some type of controlled substance and/or prescription pills based upon his speech patterns, his inability to focus and his pupils."

Court documents detail where Richard bought marijuana, how much he spent and what he purchased. Investigators found a receipt and a package for the candy in the basement of the family home. Richard bought the items less than three hours before his wife called 911.

Detectives say Richard purchased "Karma Kandy Orange Ginger," a candy, and "Pre 98 Bubba Kush Pre-Roll," a pre-rolled marijuana cigarette.

Investigators say surveillance video at a store off Colorado Boulevard shows Richard looking at several items before making his purchases.

The search warrant also goes into greater detail about what Kris told the 911 operator when she called.

Court documents say Kris told the operator Richard "had taken some marijuana and possibly some prescription medication for back pain." Kris told 911 Richard was "hallucinating."

The search warrant says, "On the recorded call, Mrs. Kirk can be heard telling Richard to stay down and yelling for her kids to go downstairs. At one point, Mrs. Kirk tells the 911 operator 'please hurry' because he was scaring the kids and he was 'totally hallucinating.'"

Sources told 9NEWS Kris was on the phone with 911 for approximately 12 minutes before Richard allegedly shot her in the head while she was still on the line.

Denver Police is investigating their response to this call, which is standard procedure when someone dies while on the line with 911.

Court records do not say at which time during the call Kris told 911 operator to "hurry" or indicated she was in physical danger.

Court records do indicate Kris was having a "conversation with her husband, and he could be heard in the background talking about taking some marijuana "candy" that he got from a store."

An affidavit for a search warrant obtained by 9NEWS says Kris sounded "panicked" at one point when talking to the 911 operator because Richard was taking the gun out of the safe.

"She next related that he had the gun, and she did not know where to go," documents say. "Within a few seconds Ms. Kirk can be heard screaming."

Denver Police released the statistics on their average response time for a call classified as "domestic violence in progress." The calls also have subcategories of priority one and two. Kris' call was a priority-one call.

In 2013, priority one calls, or those of highest priority, had a 14-minute response time. Priority two calls had a 20.38-minute response time. In 2014, priority-one calls have a 13.71-minute response time.

Family is taking care of the Kirk's young children. If you want to help, you can contribute to the account set up by Kris' mom Marti Kohnke at US Bank.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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