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Court testimony: Man accused of killing wife while high on pot was allegedly deep in debt

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(Photo: Denver Police Department)

(Photo: Denver Police Department)

DENVER — The Denver man accused of murdering his wife while he was allegedly high on marijuana was supposedly deep in debt. That’s among the surprises that came out in testimony during a preliminary hearing in court Friday.

The couple apparently had a big payment due to the IRS the next day. And they were having marital problems according to testimony. Additionally, Richard Kirk stood to benefit from a life insurance policy on his wife in the event of her death.

The prosecution is trying to build a case that there was more to the murder than the idea that the suspect did what he’s accused of doing because he was high on pot.

Richard Kirk, 48, faces first degree murder for the death of his 44-year-old wife Kristine.

The killing happened in April. Kristine Kirk was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher in Denver when she was shot and killed. She was on the phone for 13 minutes while police responded to the home.

The couple’s children were in the southeast Denver home near East Evans Avenue and South St. Paul Street when the shooting happened.

Lead detective Troy Wisgaard recounted the events of that night in the courtroom Friday. He says Kristine Kirk first told 911 operators her husband was acting irrationally and that he was on marijuana.

Twelve minutes into the call the detective says she panicked and told the operator “I don’t know what my husband is going to do.”

She says “my husband had marijuana. And then you hear her scream, “Don’t go in there! Stay away from the gun! Stop! Stop!”

By that point police still had not arrived and it was too late. The detective says you can hear her screaming and running and then the fatal gunshot takes place. The length of time it took police to get there ultimately led to the dispatcher’s resignation.

The defense team did its best to show Kirk was a man who was hallucinating and who had acted impulsively and without deliberation.

During cross examination the detective says Kristine Kirk told dispatchers that “it’s almost like he’s drunk — he’s not violent.” She told the operator, “…My fear is he’s going to do something because he doesn’t know what he’s doing.”