In a Denver courtroom, Colorado, United States, on March 13, a man named Richard Kirk pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of his wife, Kristine. He doesn’t dispute that he killed her—according to the statement of probable cause, Kirk, without being questioned, told the officer arresting him that he had killed his wife. But Kirk’s attorneys argue that the legally purchased marijuana edible he had consumed before the incident had so clouded his mind that he couldn’t be held culpable for his actions.
Even in a state still grappling with how to handle legalised marijuana, it seems like an awful lot of responsibility to heap on a product called Karma Kandy Orange Ginger—the candy that, according to the search warrant affidavit obtained by VICE, was listed on a receipt found in the Kirks’ basement on the night of the murder.
Troy Bisgard, the Denver Homicide Unit detective who responded to the scene last April, testified last year that there was a small amount—the exactly level was unspecified—of THC (and no other controlled substance) found in Kirk’s blood; he did not speculate as to whether this played a role in the murder.
According to the affidavit, Denver police officers were dispatched to the Kirk residence around 9:30 PM on April 14, 2014. Officially, it was a domestic disturbance call—Kristine had told the 9-1-1 dispatcher that her husband was talking about the end of the world and was begging her to shoot him; he was holding a gun they normally kept in a locked safe. Kristine went on to say that her husband had eaten marijuana edibles, she believed he was hallucinating, and that he was terrifying the couple’s three young children. At the end of the 9-1-1 call, Kristine screamed and then, after an apparent gunshot, the line went silent. She was pronounced dead on the scene at 9:58 PM.