LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -A tearful former model was sentenced to between 10 to 25 years in prison for her role in the 2019 killing of a 71-year-old California psychiatrist. The body of Thomas Burchard was found in the trunk of an abandoned car in the middle of the desert.
Prosecutors said Kelsey Turner and her boyfriend, Jon Kennison, beat Burchard to death and hid him in the trunk of a car left out in the desert near Lake Mead in March of 2019.
Turner’s sentence on a second-degree murder charge was the result of a plea deal with the state that guaranteed she would be eligible for parole in 10 years if she accepted an Alford plea, according to court documents.
The plea allowed Turner, 29, to not plead guilty but to acknowledge that the state had enough evidence to prove she was guilty.
In court Tuesday, Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly points to evidence where police found Burchard’s beaten body in the abandoned car. Police said Turner had a relationship with Burchard and he paid her rent.
“She was content to leave someone she knew for a number of years, who supported her and her child financially for a number of years, to rot in the back of the car in the desert that he paid for,” Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney, Pamela Weckerly said while addressing the court.
When the 71-year-old tried to cut off the relationship, Turner alleged he had pornographic photos of minors on his phone. Her then-boyfriend, Jon Kennison, 29, beat Burchard to death and hid his body in the car’s trunk.
Weckerly told the court that the accusation of child pornography turned out to be false. He was sentenced to 18 to 45 years in prison over the summer.
The victim’s longtime girlfriend, Judy Earp, was given the opportunity to address the court one last time, despite the defense’s attempt to block it through a filed objection.
Earp previously told 8 News Now that Turner stole upwards of $300,000 from him after he attempted to cut her off. In a tearful speech, she told the court, “My whole world was viciously ripped from me.”
“She printed on her home computer checks with Tom’s name and account number and her address. She also went online and made many charges paying her bills,” Earp said to the court. “His last words to me were, ‘she’s such a pervasive liar that I had to see for myself.’”
Earp declined to speak to media after court, but inside court, she indicated that she fears that Turner will retaliate against her when she’s released. She said Turner threatened to kill her over text before.
“I never realized such evil existed in this world until this happened,” Earp said. “I do not want to spend the rest of my life constantly worrying and always looking over my shoulder, if or when she is granted parole.”
Kennison was sentenced in July to between 18 and 45 years for his role in the murder. A roommate of the couple, Diana Nicole Pena, pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder and provided prosecutors with critical evidence.
Turner was also ordered to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees during her sentencing.