Four months ago, Kyle Kuhn wanted to die, and he tried to get police to kill him.
They nearly did, but the makeshift bullet-proof vest he wore to protect himself from a Taser stun gun probably saved his life.
“That day I made a very irresponsible decision,” Kuhn told District Judge Douglas Herndon during a sentencing hearing Thursday. “I wanted to commit suicide by cop. I provoked those officers.”
The 31-year-old now believes “life is beautiful,” and he asked the judge for mercy.
His defense lawyer, Mark Cichoski, argued for probation, while prosecutor Sonia Jimenez said Kuhn deserved to go to prison.
In October, Kuhn pleaded guilty to resisting a public officer with the use of a dangerous weapon.
Back in August, Kuhn’s life was falling apart. He and his wife Dawn were recently evicted, staying with a neighbor and trying to scrape together enough money to drive to Kentucky, where their children were staying with her mother, according to her grand jury testimony. He was addicted to drugs and depressed.
“I felt like a burden to my family,” Kuhn told the judge.
He spent some time in the psychiatric unit at Centennial Hills Hospital, where he was diagnosed with severe depression. Then he was sent to Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital.
“He wasn’t in his right mind,” Dawn Kuhn told the grand jury. “He kept saying over the past couple months that he was sorry for dragging me down and ruining my life. So he was just trying to find an exit so me and my kids could have a better life.”
His father is a pastor, and Kuhn was raised to believe that if he committed suicide, he would spend an eternity in hell.
He was taking Valium for anxiety.
“The night before this incident,” Cichoski said, “he had taken every Valium pill that was left in the bottle in an effort to take his life.”
In the early afternoon of Aug. 11, his wife was trying to clear out the back of the Jeep, which was parked in the driveway, so she could see through the rear windows when he sprayed a fire extinguisher inside the vehicle, then pointed it at her.
He slipped on a mask and slipped a ceramic cutting board under his insulated orange Carhartt jumpsuit.
“Today is going to be the day you see me die,” he told her before smashing the right rear window of the Jeep. He grabbed a tire iron and smashed the left rear window.
She called the police and told them her husband was suicidal. He had pushed her to the ground and stomped on her ankles, she said.
Police went to the 7600 block of Calico Fields Street, where they found him standing behind the Jeep. With the butcher knives raised over his masked face, he started walking quickly toward officers, who had bean bag shotguns and pistols pointed at him.
“I meant no harm to those officers,” he told the judge. “I know I put them in a critical spot to make a critical decision.”
Kuhn has a criminal record in Clark County, including burglary, forgery and theft charges dating back to 2002.
He said he hopes the cops forgive him.
“I’ve had four months to sit here in jail and remind myself that life is beautiful and it is worth living,” Kuhn told the judge. “I’m not a violent person.”
Kuhn will have to spend at least another eight months behind bars. Herndon ordered him to serve one to three years in prison, and gave him credit for the 123 days he has spent in the Clark County Detention Center since his arrest.
“If you’re true today that you’ve had that epiphany, so to speak, about ‘Hey I’ve got to make a lot of changes,’ then you’ll do that when you get out of prison,” Herndon said. “If you don’t, then I would say watch out.”
Contact reporter David Ferrara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker