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'I Never Realized Such Evil Existed': Former Playboy Model Sentenced For Psychiatrist's 2019 Murder
Prosecutors say Kelsey Turner helped beat 71-year-old Thomas Burchard to death with a baseball bat when he allegedly threatened to cut her off financially.
A one-time model will spend the next 10 to 25 years behind bars for her role in a child psychiatrist’s 2019 murder.
Kelsey Turner, 29, was sentenced Tuesday for her role in the beating death of Thomas Burchard, 71, after submitting an Alford plea in November on charges of second-degree murder, according to ABC Las Vegas affiliate KTNV-TV. The plea allowed Turner to maintain her innocence while acknowledging the state had enough evidence to convict.
The plea also allows for Turner to go up before a parole board after she serves 10 years of her sentence, according to CBS Las Vegas affiliate KLAS-TV.
Prosecutors say Turner and Burchard were in a romantic and “transactional” relationship, with Burchard footing the bill for Turner’s Las Vegas apartment. The California-based doctor previously paid for Turner’s rent while she lived in Salinas, California, prior to her moving to Las Vegas, Fox’s KVVU-TV reported.
On March 3, 2019, Burchard reportedly flew to Las Vegas to end the relationship and threatened to cut Turner off financially. Turner allegedly responded by threatening to tell authorities that Burchard had pornographic images of children on his phone — accusations prosecutors say were false, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
With the help of her live-in boyfriend, Jon “Logan” Kennison, 29, prosecutors say Turner helped beat Burchard to death with a baseball bat and stuffed his partially-clothed body in the trunk of Turner’s Mercedes-Benz.
Burchard’s body was discovered by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police on March 7, 2019, after reports of a suspicious, abandoned car in the desert near Lake Mead. A coroner determined he’d died sometime between March 3 and March 6, according to KLAS-TV.
On Tuesday, Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Pamela Weckerly told the court that Turner “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,” per KLAS-TV.
At Turner’s home, police found blood, cleaning supplies, a broken door, and other evidence tying the pair to the crime scene. Towels found at Turner’s residence also matched towels found with Burchard’s body, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
At sentencing, Burchard’s long-time girlfriend Judy Earp — who reported Burchard missing on March 4, 2019 — told the court, “His last words to me were, ‘She’s such a pervasive liar that I had to see for myself,’” according to KLAS-TV.
“I knew that no matter what, he would not just leave his patients without making arrangements,” Earp said, according to the Review-Journal.
Earp previously told KLAS-TV reporters that Turner stole around $300,000 from Burchard by allegedly printing fraudulent checks from her home computer and making online purchases on Burchard’s dime.
“I never realized such evil existed in this world until this happened,” said Earp. “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.”
Turner’s roommate, Diana Nicole Pena, allegedly witnessed the murder and told a grand jury that Kennison struck the victim with the bat while Turner egged him on.
Pena pleaded guilty to accessory to murder in June 2019.
Attorneys representing Jon “Logan” Kennison referred to Turner as a “master manipulator,” claiming Kennison “stood no chance” of resisting Turner’s charm, according to a court memorandum obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Logan’s error in judgment was becoming entangled with a master manipulator he could not rebuff,” as stated in records. “He was also in love with her. Logan’s violence, thus, was a crime of passion. Turner’s frenzy fueled him. Her frenzy and calls for bloodlust sealed Dr. Burchard’s unjustified fate.”
Kennison previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and is currently serving 18 to 45 years in prison.
Turner was a Virginia-born model who’d appeared in Playboy Italia and Maxim. Following Burchard’s murder, prosecutors say she created a GoFundMe page to pay for a defense attorney and was reportedly in talks to appear in the WE TV reality series, “Love After Lockup,” per the Review-Journal.
Had Turner not entered the plea, she faced life in prison.