FORT WORTH (March 19, 2013)—A Tarrant County grand jury has declined to return indictments in the case of a man who died in police custody after he beat a North Texas pastor to death in the victim’s church.
The Rev. Danny Kirk, Sr., 53, the brother of longtime Falls County Sheriff Ben Kirk, was killed in October 2012.
Authorities say Derrick Birdlow, 33, rammed a car into the wall of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church in Forest Hill, got out, grabbed an electric guitar and beat Kirk to death.
After the attack officers used a stun gun to subdue Birdlow, handcuffed him, and put him in a patrol car, where he later was found dead.
The medical examiner ruled that Birdow died from taking the hallucinogenic drug PCP and said the stun gun did not contribute to his death in the Fort Worth suburb.
Tarrant County prosecutor Jack Strickland said the case was presented to grand jurors Tuesday because it involved officers who were cleared in independent investigations.