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Man Pleads Guilty To Shooting Wife After Eating Marijuana Edible

DENVER (CBS4) - A Denver man who ate a pot edible and then shot and killed his wife has reached a plea deal.

Richard Kirk
Richard Kirk (credit: Denver Police Department/CBS)

Richard Kirk on Friday morning pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder in connection with the death of his wife Kristine, 44, in April 2014. He now faces between 25 and 30 years in prison.

In a prepared statement, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said the Kirk family didn't want the case to have to go to trial "given the personal and emotional toll family members have already suffered." She called the case, in which Kirk initially used an insanity plea in his defense, "complicated and tragic."

Kristine, Kris Kirk
Kristine Kirk (credit: Family of Kristine Kirk)

"Everyone involved in this case felt this was a fair and just resolution of a tragic case. The family did not want to take this to trial given there are three young boys," said McCann.

Kirk is scheduled to be sentenced on April 7. He has been in custody since the murder took place in the Kirks' Observatory Park home.

Kirk's defense said in pre-trial hearings he was so impaired by the marijuana, which he bought legally at a pot shop, that he may not have intended to kill his wife.

Prosecutors had argued that he had the wherewithal to remember the code to a locked gun safe and pressed the weapon to his wife's head and fired while she was on the phone with a 911 operator. Kristine Kirk had called 911 frantically saying her husband had used marijuana was acting erratically and had a gun.

The plea agreement states that Kristine Kirk's parents will adopt the couple's three children.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of the children accuses the maker and seller of the edibles Kirk ingested of failing to properly warn of potential side effects. It states that recklessness led to their mother's death.

RELATED STORIES: Marijuana Legalization Story Archive

In 2014 there were few requirements about labeling and packaging of marijuana edibles. Since then, numerous regulations have been put in place, and more are being considered.

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