A former Playboy model accused of killing a 71-year-old psychiatrist who police say was helping pay her bills pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge this week in his beating death in Las Vegas.
Kelsey Turner, 29, was arrested and charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Thomas Burchard of Salinas, California, in April 2019, Clark County District Court records show.
Turner entered an Alford plea Wednesday, court records show. Under a deal reached between attorneys in the case, Turner is maintaining her innocence but pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge.
Las Vegas police said Burchard traveled from California to Las Vegas, where Turner lived at the time, to end their two-year relationship in which he apparently gave her an allowance that included paying her rent, The Californian, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported.
Burchard was later found dead in the trunk of an abandoned Mercedes-Benz, the outlet reported. Burchard died of blunt force trauma to the head, according to police, who found the car on a desert road near Lake Mead after Burchard’s longtime girlfriend reported him missing.
According to a warrant, Burchard’s girlfriend, Judy Earp, believed Turner could be involved., Earp told The Californian her boyfriend had given the younger woman at least $300,000 over the past two years.
Earp said she had not met the model personally but said Burchard had known Turner for two years.
“He was always helping people,” Earp said. “Anybody with a sad story, you know. Some people took advantage of that.”
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On May 31, 2019, court records show, a grand jury indicted Turner and Jon “Logan” Kennison on murder charges in connection to his death.
Another co-defendant in the case, Diana Pena, pleaded guilty in June 2019 to accessory to murder, court records also show.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Pena, the couple’s roommate, has testified to a grand jury that she watched Kennison swing a baseball bat at Burchard.
Turner and Kennison had planned to take Burchard to a hospital after he was struck with the bat, the outlet reported, but later Turner began demanding her boyfriend “knock Thomas out,” Pena testified.
Kennison pleaded guilty in June to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to a maximum of 45 years in prison.
Court records show Turner is set to be sentenced on the charge in January.
Contributing: Chelcey Adami and Kate Cimini
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund