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Man accused of killing wife appointed public defender, held without bond

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DENVER — Richard Kirk, the man accused of shooting his wife at their home while she was on the phone with a 911 operator, was appointed a public defender and will remain jailed with no bond after appearing in court Wednesday morning.

A few family members and friends were in the courtroom when Kirk, who is facing first-degree murder charges, was brought in wearing a gray jumpsuit and in handcuffs. They did not speak with reporters after the brief hearing.

Kristine Kirk, 44, was on the phone for 13 minutes before she was killed at her home near the University of Denver on Monday night. While police are looking into how they handled the 911 call and their own response time, there is a growing memorial outside the family home.

Police were sent to the home at 2112 S. St. Paul St. at 9:32 p.m. Monday. The mother of three was pronounced dead at 10 p.m.

Sources say Richard Kirk was hallucinating after possibly ingesting edible marijuana. During the 911 call, Kristine Kirk told the dispatcher that her husband was “talking about the end of the world and he wanted her to shoot him.”

Kristine Kirk

Kristine Kirk

When she refused, police say her husband shot her. According to sources, one of the couples’ three children witnessed it.

According to a probable cause statement, Kirk admitted to police that he shot his wife.

The 911 call lasted 13 minutes, police said.  DPD plans to investigate the emergency call and police response to the homicide.

“Anytime a person dies while communicating with Denver’s emergency services, we examine the circumstances to ensure that the incident was handled properly and we look for areas to improve upon,” police spokesman Sonny Jackson said.

Jackson said investigators were “looking at there possibly being a marijuana aspect to this particular investigation.”

“My heart goes out to those three boys and Kris’ family. Mom, dad, sister and brothers. This is a terrible thing,” said Lance Kirk, the victim’s brother-in-law and Richard Kirk’s brother.

Neighbors, family and friends say they knew Kristine and Richard as a loving couple and devoted parents.

“Whatever those boys are going through right now, my thoughts and my prayers are with them and I hope that they find peace,” neighbor Kristin Fynewever said.

“I know that wasn’t Richard,” Lance Kirk said. “Let’s just say that. I hope there are some answers that come out about this.”

Records show Richard Kirk, 47, does not have a violent history.

This is the first murder in the University Park neighborhood since at least 2009, as far back as online Denver Police data goes.

LINK: See crime trends in your neighborhood with the DPD Crime Map

Since the beginning of the year, there have only been three “violent crimes” in the University Park neighborhood — one sexual assault, one robbery and one aggravated assault.