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Puckett, wife announce split

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MINNEAPOLIS — Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett and his wife are getting divorced, the couple announced Friday, less than a month after Tonya Puckett told police her husband threatened to kill her during an argument.

Kirby Puckett denied to Edina police that he threatened his wife, according to a police report. Police Chief Mike Siitari said Friday that the city's prosecuting attorney and the Hennepin County attorney had decided not to file charges against the former Minnesota Twins star.

"Today we are very sad to announce that our marriage of 15 years is ending. The failure of our marriage is terribly painful for both of us, and it is especially difficult for our two children," the Pucketts said in a statement released through their attorneys. "On behalf of our entire family, we respectfully request that everyone honor our need for privacy on this matter as we work through one of the most difficult times of our lives."

The couple has a daughter and a son.

Tonya Puckett filed a report with police Dec. 21 alleging that Kirby Puckett, during a Dec. 15 phone conversation with her, threatened that he "was going to kill her."

Tonya Puckett told a police detective that she was scared because of what she described as a history of domestic assault and violence, including incidents nine years ago when she said Kirby Puckett choked her with a cord and put a gun in her face.

Puckett, a Twins executive vice president, did not immediately return a phone call left at the Twins' office by The Associated Press. Tonya Puckett's attorney, Ed Winer, and Kirby Puckett's agent, Ron Shapiro, also did not immediately return calls from the AP. Robert Zalk, Kirby Puckett's attorney, would not comment, his office said.

Puckett, one of the most popular sports figures in Minnesota history, played for the Twins for 13 years and led them to World Series championships in 1987 and 1991.