Tag Archives: Brandon Powell

Ten Years After the Deaths of Levy Thamba and Kristine Kirk, Part I

What have we learned 10 years after the deaths of Levy Thamba and Kristine Kirk?  We ask that question as April 15, the tenth anniversary of Kristine’s death, approaches. Unfortunately, the USA continues to make critical mistakes by allowing the expansion of marijuana. One problem is the increasing number of violent episodes related to cannabis-induced psychosis. Some incidents made the news this year, including four stabbings in Rockford, IL.

Another issue is that states legalized pot without guardrails to deter stoned drivers, resulting in a huge increase in traffic deaths

This article covers some of the many psychotic events and tragedies related to THC in the early legalization states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California.  

Colorado Cases

Levi Thamba Pongi,19, jumped three stories to his death after eating a marijuana cookie in Colorado on March 11, 2014.  Thamba, an exchange student from the Congo, traveled from Wyoming to Colorado two months after Colorado legalized pot.   The report listed marijuana intoxication as a significant contributor to his death.  

Richard Kirk of Colorado killed his wife on April 15, 2014, after ingesting marijuana candy. Before it happened, Kristine Kirk called 911 and explained her husbands was hallucinating and wanted her to kill him.  Just minutes before police arrived, he shot his wife.  Three children witnessed the event and are now in the custody of Kristine’s parents.  Kirk is serving a 30-year sentence for the crime.

Luke Goodman, 23, traveled to Colorado with his family and tried marijuana Colorado on March 21, 2015.  When two edibles did not affect him, he took three more. Several hours later he shot himself and died three days later.  The family believes that marijuana was the cause of his suicide.

Daniel Juarez‘s family believes cannabis intoxication caused his death.  He stabbed himself multiple times under acute intoxication on September 26, 2012, weeks before the vote to legalize.  Had the report been made public, some say Coloradans never would have voted for legalization.   He was 17 at the time.

Top to bottom, l to r: Levy Thamba, Kristine Kirk and Richard Kirk; Robert Corry and Luke Goodman; Hamza Warsame, Brandon Powell and Bryn Spejcher

Cases from Washington

Hamza Warzame, 16, Seattle, jumped 6 floors to his death after smoking marijuana for the first time with a 21-year-old friend in 2015.  At first, police investigated a possible hate crime because Warsame was a Muslim. The cannabis was purchased legally in a Seattle recreational pot store, but it was illegal for Warsame to be using it.  He may have been trying to jump from building to building, without trying to kill himself.

Joseph Hudek – a man from Tampa, Florida — purchased marijuana edibles in Seattle before going on a flight from Seattle to Beijing.  He tried to open a door during the flight. When an attendant and passenger were helping to subdue him, he punched them.  In an affidavit, he said that he ingested the drugs in Seattle before getting on the plane.   Perhaps Hudek expected Seattle pot to mellow him and put him to sleep during the overseas trip.   In the recent incident of an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot trying to take over a plane, the man actually was actually tripping on psilocybin mushrooms, another hallucinogen.

 Crystal Daniels, of Washington, drove her vehicle into a utility pole around 1:40 AM on June 17, 2015. The crash caused power lines to fall to the ground and resulted in “about a hundred yards of flames.” When King County sheriff’s police arrived at the scene, they had to pull her out a back window of the vehicle.  She was completely naked and babbling incoherently. The electricity outage affected about 4000 residents in Shoreline, a city about 10 miles from Seattle.  She had 28 ng of THC hydroxyl in her blood and 8.5 ng. of THC.

Missing teens in Washington and Oregon

Logan Schiendelman went missing at age 19, back in May 2016, from Tumwater, Washington. His story has been told on Dateline and on the Missing Persons podcast.  One of the few things noted about Logan that could relate to his disappearance was his marijuana usage. His grandmother also said: “I know he did a lot of smoking pot, and I’ve wondered sometimes if that caused a little bit of paranoia.” 

Brandon Powell, an 18-year-old from Estacaba, Oregon had a panic attack after taking a highly potent marijuana dab in March 2017. He left home in his pajamas and search missions found dead in a river one month and a half month later in a river.   Dabs are a highly potent form of marijuana that is more popular with teens who use marijuana than with adults. His case is similar to that of Jelani Day from Illinois

California drug normalization; teen parties with heavy marijuana use

On May 28, 2018, Chad O’Melia and Bryn Spejcher were smoking marijuana out of a bong in southern California. Bryn became acutely psychotic and stabbed Chad over 100 times, ending his life. She also stabbed herself and her dog.  The Bryn Spejcher trial was covered in numerous news outlets earlier this year.  A judge sentenced her to probation and community service, even though the jury convicted her of involuntary manslaughter.  Numerous podcasts discuss the trial, including Every Brain Matters and Dr. Daniel Bober. 

Cases in California confirm the failures of the state’s harm reduction approach to drug education. Both Kiely Rodni, 16, and Karlee Lain Gusé, 16, went missing after attending teen parties featuring heavy marijuana use.  Keili was found in a submerged car two weeks later, although Karlee has never been found.  Keili’s death was probably accidental.  The toxicology report on Kelli revealed caffeine, nicotine, and Delta-9 THC.  A review of Karlee’s tragic disappearance suggests impairment from THC, but also the possibility that she may have been harmed.  The FBI has a long case file with testimony from the family.

Autopsies listed “drowning” as the official cause of death for Keili Rodni, Jelani Day and Brandon Powell, but would they have drowned without the THC?  Probably not!  The bottom line — with or without psychosis — marijuana raises your odds of death by accident or otherwise.

Odd cases of psychosis in Colorado

In the Denver Mall, a homeless man started physically attacking people with a PVC pipe, in June, 2016. The 28-year-old man had moved from Indiana to Colorado for marijuana.  Mayor Michael Hancock, blamed the rash of violence on the 16th Street Mall on legalized marijuana. “This is one of the results of the legalization of marijuana in Denver, and we’re going to have to deal with it.”

Robert Corry, the attorney behind Colorado’s successful legalization ballot in 2012, later regretted pushing legalization.  He himself went crazy, and he suffered from cannabis-induced psychosis. Corry went from being the pot advocates’ favorite lawyer to having his law license suspended for one year. 

What have states learned?   Nothing

Perhaps Virginia’s governor, Glenn Youngkin, and New Hampshire’s Governor Chris Sununu have learned lessons from other states.  Only two states, Vermont and Connecticut, cap the potency of THC.   States like California and Washington refuse to pass sensible regulations about warning labels.  They care more about pleasing wealthy donors invested in the cannabis industry.  Too many lives have been destroyed.

Pot advocates who claim teen use doesn’t rise with legalization remain silent about the use of high-potency THC products promoted since legalization.   Part 2 will cover psychotic episodes in other states.  

Marijuana Legalization Policy Prioritizes Profit over Human Life

Callous Disregard for Human Life in Pursuit of Profit and Getting Stoned

In California, a mother will soon go on trial for the drunk driving crash that killed her daughter and daughter’s friend.  The girls were skateboarding on a rural road in Humboldt County when a vehicle hit them.  Toxicology reports revealed that the 14-year-old girls had THC in their blood.  Marci Kitchen allegedly fled the scene of the accident on July 12, 2016 and tried to get rid of the pot in the car.  A judge has called for a jury to decide if she’s guilty of drunk driving and homicide.

In Washington, a man high on marijuana killed  policeman Jake Gutierrez. He was holding his 6-year-old daughter while in a standoff with multiple police that lasted 10 hours.  The perpetrator claimed  to be a sheriff named “Zeus.”   Bruce Randall Johnson, 38, had been unraveling for weeks before police fired the shots that killed him.   “A regular marijuana user, he’d been smoking more lately,” according to KIRO 7. The autopsy revealed:  “Johnson’s body weighed in at a spindly 104 pounds. He had no drugs in his system, apart from high concentrations of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Left to right–Marijuana Victims Brandon Powell (Oregon), Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas (California) and Jake Gutierrez (Washington)

In March, Brandon Powell, an 18-year-old, went psychotic after smoking marijuana “dabs ” in Estacada, Oregon.  He left home barefoot in pajama bottoms and went missing until found dead in a river earlier this month.  Also in Estacada last weekend, a man carried a severed head into a convenience store and stabbed a store clerk.  The incident happened after a woman was reported dead in her home.  She was the mother of 36-year-old Joshua Lee Webb who has been connected to the crime.   He allegedly killed his mother first.  Nothing in reports links the killing to marijuana.

West Coast Problem Becoming a National Problem

States that legalize pot promote a substance which can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems.  Most of these hideous, vicious stories occurred on the West Coast of Weed.

It might be easy to pass judgment on people like Marci Kitchen and Bruce Johnson, but what about state policy that normalizes marijuana use?  Kitchen grew pot beside her garage, but she lives in a county where everyone does it.

Marijuana madness is spreading throughout the country.  In Massachusetts, two teens smoked marijuana together before one murdered and decapitated his  classmate.  In Texas,  Davie Dauzat murdered his wife after they had smoked marijuana together last August.  He said it was in a “battle between good and evil.”

Murders under the influence of marijuana often happen because the perpetrators become psychotic and hallucinate.

In Wisconsin recently, a mother murdered her toddler after smoking pot.   In West Virginia, the “Pretty Little Killers” planned and killed a friend under the influence of marijuana.    It is easy to judge and condemn the perpetrators of violent crimes, but what of the culture that promotes marijuana?  What of the culture that tells 14-year-olds it’s ok to get stoned and go skateboarding?

Profit Before People Drives the Legalization Ballots

Marijuana-induced insanity is recognized in every part of the world except North America.  It appears that the United States and Canada prioritize profit over mental health, safety and human life.   Voters pass these ballots even though there is no definitive, reliable test to detect stoned drivers, as there is for drunk drivers.

Legislative analysis for California Proposition 64 was written to emphasize that the state could earn 1 billion dollars annually.

The California government obviously thinks the tax money the state can earn from intoxication and addiction is the highest priority.  The opening statement on the ballot to legalize marijuana used profit as motivating reason to legalize. That’s government motivated by preying on its own people. The press is guilty of the same mentality that emphasizes profits over human costs.

Press Ignored Child Abuse Deaths in Colorado; Will Cover-up Continue?

When marijuana stores opened in Colorado in January 2014,  a toddler died in a fire while his parents smoked pot in another room.  The mother was a medical marijuana cardholder, and the press should have covered the incident.  During the same month another mother  who smoked pot while her two sons died of carbon monoxide poisoning went on trial.  These stories were in the local Press, but did not make national news.

According to NBC News, the driver who rammed into crowds in Times Square yesterday admitted to smoking marijuana before driving.  He killed an 18-year-old girl and injured 22 others.  Condolences to the heart-broken family of Alyssa Elsman.  Other news services reported “he smoked something” or  “mind-altering drug” or “synthetic marijuana.”  Are they covering up behalf of the pot industry?   Like the New York Times, do they want to legalize marijuana and try to downplay the bad news about pot?

In Oregon last fall, a driver smoked pot, went psychotic and deliberately killed a construction worker.  

When stoners argue in favor of legalization, they use the deaths caused by alcohol to promote their cause.  The truth is that neither drunk driving nor stoned driving should be tolerated.  But marijuana has more of a propensity to cause madness and psychosis.  National policy which refuses to warn the public, along with states that promote a dangerous drug industry,  share the blame for deaths.

No state successfully regulates to keep potent marijuana extracts — as used by Brandon Powell — away from teens.  Those who value  profit and tax money over people claim legalization is  successful.    Sadly, profit over human life is becoming the American way.