Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2019

Currently: 72° — Complete forecast

2 women held in Las Vegas in slaying of California doctor

Kelsey Turner

Metro Police

Kelsey Turner

Click to enlarge photo

This undated booking photo shows Diana Nicole Pena, 30.

A former model arrested in California in the killing of a psychologist last month made a court appearance in Las Vegas on a murder charge the same day an alleged accomplice surrendered to police, authorities said Monday.

Kelsey Nichole Turner, 25, "categorically denies any role in the death of Dr. Burchard," her attorney, Brian James Smith, told The Associated Press. Turner was arrested March 21 in Stockton, California, and was transferred in custody on Friday to the Clark County jail in Las Vegas. She is being held without bail. 

Smith said a judge on Saturday scheduled a June 3 preliminary hearing of evidence in the slaying of Thomas Kirk Burchard, 71, of Salinas, California.

Also on Saturday, Diana Nicole Pena, 30, surrendered to detectives in Las Vegas after being named in a warrant charging her with murder and conspiracy in Burchard's death, police Officer Larry Hadfield said.

A third suspect, Jon Logan Kennison, is still being sought on murder and conspiracy charges. Hadfield said Kennison is 27.

Pena is due in a Las Vegas court on Tuesday. Her attorney, Jess Matsuda, was on trial in another case Monday and unavailable to immediately comment.

The case involving the death of a semi-retired child psychiatrist in California amid allegations that a former model for Playboy Italia and Maxim magazines and her roommates killed him has drawn intense media interest.

Burchard's body was found March 7 in the trunk of Turner's car in the desert outside Las Vegas, days after police said he paid her rent for a home in Las Vegas, according to court documents.

Turner was arrested March 21 in Stockton, California, and is now held without bail at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas.

The Clark County coroner found that Burchard died of head injuries after being struck multiple times with an unidentified object that left what police called a unique pattern.

Police said Burchard's longtime girlfriend, Judy Earp in California, reported he text-messaged her on March 2 from Las Vegas and missed his scheduled return to Salinas two days later.