Tag Archives: Richard Kirk

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.  

Is Marijuana a Risk Factor for Domestic Violence?

*Reader discretion is advised, content describes details of violent crimes.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.  Despite the public perception of pot users being laid back and too lazy for anger, the evidence suggests otherwise.  Most people perceive alcohol as the substance most often connected to domestic violence. But other drugs, like marijuana, contribute handily to the mix. 

We’ve failed to stem domestic violence in the US, despite strong efforts to provide services and numerous shelters for women. Many advocates against domestic violence assert that unequal power and control are the only driving forces involved in violence.  Actually, substance abusers perpetrate more than 80 percent of domestic violence, according to estimates. Some studies put the rate at 94% of domestic violence.

https://youtu.be/g_m3yV_aXXU
A Thought Provoking Video by PopPot.org

Continue reading Is Marijuana a Risk Factor for Domestic Violence?

Richard Kirk interview confirms marijuana as unsafe swap for opiates

Three months after Colorado opened marijuana stores, Richard Kirk shot and killed his wife while she was on the phone with 911.  On November 12, Lori Gliha, an investigative journalist from the news magazine program Insight with John Ferruggia interviewed him on Rocky Mountain PBS. Most viewers who watched the jailhouse interview agree that he wouldn’t have killed his wife had he not eaten the marijuana edible.

The State of Colorado deserves a good portion of the blame for the death of Kristine Kirk. Continue reading Richard Kirk interview confirms marijuana as unsafe swap for opiates

USC Athlete Rape Incident is a Warning Against Marijuana Edibles

Marijuana Cookie Used in Alleged Rape Crime

Osa Masina, a USC football player who was suspended, is going to be tried for an alleged rape.  The trial is set to begin June 25.

The 19-year-old met up with a former classmate last summer, on July 25.   The Salt Lake Tribune describes the incident:

There, a night of partying — Bacardi rum, Mike’s Hard Lemonade and half of a marijuana cookie — left her feeling so intoxicated she says could not get out of a car on her own that night when she went with Masina and a group of his friends to get fast food, and she said she cannot recall how she got back inside the house.

She said the next thing she remembered after passing out was waking up with Masina raping her.

“It hurt. It was very painful,” she said, and though she said she felt “scared and helpless,” she tried to move her legs to stop him.

“Did you consent in any way to the sexual contact you’ve been describing?” the prosecutor asked.

“No,” the woman said.

The woman testified she passed out and awoke several more times throughout the night, each time to a different horror: She awoke to Masina forcing her to engage in oral sex so rough she could not breathe; she awoke unable to move from a couch and unable to reach someone to come help her; she awoke, wearing only a bra and a blanket, on the lawn of a neighboring home where she saw Masina’s car still parked outside and “that fear came over me again because I knew he was still in the house.”

Guys, as well as gals, should consider that marijuana use may lead to unwanted sex

Calling Out the Role of Marijuana is not “Victim Shaming”

The description of the rape is horrible.  The evidence suggests that the football player and the woman were abusing substances before the sexual activity occurred.  The law should not excuse this behavior towards a woman who has passed out.

Nine days earlier, Masina, her high school friend, had invited the victim to Los Angeles for a long weekend.   At that time, Masina, the woman and another football player, Max Hill, partied hard.  The victim took marijuana, two Xanax pills along with alcohol   The woman alleges that both Masina and Don Hill raped her.   Masina and Hill were suspended from the team, but a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles has been dismissed.

Alcohol can produce some pretty outrageous behaviors, but when alcohol mixes with marijuana or other drugs, extremes happen.    This case, the Stanford swimmer’s case and many others exemplify why we need to educate against intoxication.  It is not “victim shaming” to explain that the 19-year-old would not have passed out if she had did not eat half a marijuana cookie.  The effects of marijuana cookies happen about two hours after ingestion.

In 2014, the Vote No on 2 campaign in Florida warned about marijuana cookies and date rape.  This recent rape case involving a college football player should scrutinize the role of the marijuana -laced cookie .

Half of a cookie from Colorado, Washington or California could have as much as 50 milligrams of marijuana.  Levy Thamba jumped off a building to his death after eating a marijuana-laced cookie.  A few weeks later, Richard Kirk shot his wife after eating a marijuana candy and going crazy.

The marijuana industry in Colorado prevented a ballot supported by 80 % of the state which would have capped the strength of edibles.  (Failure to warn of the psychotic effects from these edibles is a disservice to both the victim and the accused.  Both were 19, below the legal age to buy marijuana cookies in any state.)

There is no mention of how and when Masina or the woman obtained the cookies.   Who bought or provided the cookie?  Was interstate drug trafficking involved?  Calling out substance abuse as a factor doesn’t excuse rape, but it warns of the conditions in which rape is most likely to occur.

No on 2 Predicted Correctly

In 2014, the Florida Vote No on 2 Campaign forecast that marijuana would become the new date-rape drug.  Journalists, respectable blogs and the marijuana industry laughed at the idea.  No on 2’s prediction was correct.  Let’s hope the prosecutor explores the role of the pot-laced cookie during the trial.  It should serve as a warning against this type of impairment.

States should pass laws to clarify consent for sexual activity in order to guard against rape and unwanted sex.  Equally important, educators need to inform about the role of substance abuse in domestic violence and rape.  Pedophiles often give marijuana to their victims.

Even groups concerned with violence against women remain in the dark.   Colleges don’t do enough to warn against drugs to avoid unwanted sex.  In fact, the United States is quite backwards compared to other countries in failing to see the connection.  Those who blame alcohol only, and not other drugs, are complicit in the denial.

date-rape
The incident happened off campus during the summer, but the defendant was suspended from his team last fall.  A sophomore, he was slated to be a starting linebacker for USC’s varsity team.