Ex-model gets prison in Vegas slaying of California doctor

The Clark County coroner found that Burchard was beaten to death
This undated file photo provided by the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office shows Kelsey...
This undated file photo provided by the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office shows Kelsey Nichole Turner. (San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office via AP, File) (GIM)
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 10:53 AM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) - A former men’s magazine model was sentenced Tuesday in Nevada to 10 to 25 years in prison for killing a California doctor whose bludgeoned corpse was found in 2019 in the trunk of her abandoned car just outside Las Vegas.

Kelsey Nichole Turner, 29, agreed in November to a so-called Alford plea and a negotiated sentence that avoided trial. She acknowledged that prosecutors could prove second-degree murder in the slaying of 71-year-old psychiatrist Thomas Kirk Burchard of Salinas, California.

Turner, a former model for Playboy Italia and Maxim magazines, did not make a statement in court.

Her sentencing followed sentencing in July for her 29-year-old former boyfriend, Jon Logan Kennison, to 18 to 45 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy.

Police and prosecutors said Turner had “an intimate relationship” with Burchard, and Burchard paid the rent on a Las Vegas home where Turner and Kennison lived with a roommate, Diana Nicole Pena.

Police put Kennison, Turner and Pena together at the time Burchard was reported missing by his longtime girlfriend in Salinas, Judy Earp, and said it appeared that Turner, Kennison and Pena abruptly moved out of the home after Burchard was killed.

The Clark County coroner found that Burchard was beaten to death with head injuries from an unspecified object that left what police called a unique pattern.

Police also said they found a door broken in half; blood, cleaning supplies and items bearing Kennison’s name in a bedroom in the house; and apparent blood, footprints and more cleaning supplies in the garage. Blue and white bath towels found at the house matched a towel found with Burchard’s body in Turner’s blue Mercedes Benz coupe, police said.

Pena’s and Kennison’s fingerprints were found in the car, according to police, along with a baseball bat.

In court on Tuesday, Earp accused Turner of forging Burchard’s signature and stealing money from him, and said she believed Turner “lured” Burchard to Las Vegas in 2019 by saying she was sick and couldn’t afford to take care of her child, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Police and prosecutors said Turner, Kennison and Pena killed Burchard in March 2019 and left his body in the trunk of Turner’s car. The vehicle was found abandoned on a dirt road between Las Vegas and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Pena, now 34, a former bartender at a Las Vegas Strip resort, pleaded guilty in June 2019 to accessory to murder. She testified that she helped clean the crime scene after Burchard was killed and fled Las Vegas with Kennison and Turner.

Turner was later arrested in Salinas and Kennison was arrested in Las Vegas.

The Review-Journal reported that Turner’s public defense attorney, Ashley Sisolak, told Clark County District Court Judge Carli Kierny that she and Turner believed the plea deal was the best resolution to the case.