LAS VEGAS (AP/CBS SF) — A woman accused with two other people of killing a prominent Monterey psychiatrist in Las Vegas tried to shield her face from photographers while her lawyer told a judge she’ll fight murder and conspiracy charges.
Diana Nicole Pena’s attorney, Jess Matsuda, said Tuesday his 30-year-old client didn’t kill 71-year-old Dr. Thomas Kirk Burchard.
Former Playboy model Kelsey Nichole Turner’s attorney, Brian James Smith, has said his 25-year-old client had no role in Burchard’s death.
The last time Burchard was heard from alive was on March 2, when he allegedly texted his girlfriend. He was scheduled to return to Salinas from a weekend trip to Las Vegas on March 4, but never did.
Burchard’s body was found March 7 in the trunk of Turner’s abandoned Mercedes-Benz C300 in the desert outside Las Vegas.
According to the Clark County coroner, the popular Monterey psychologist died of head injuries and had been bludgeoned to death with an object that left a distinct pattern.
Turner was arrested March 21 in Stockton. Pena surrendered Saturday to Las Vegas police.
They’re jailed without bail in Las Vegas, with a preliminary hearing scheduled June 3.
Turner’s boyfriend, Jon Logan Kennison, offered remains sought on murder and conspiracy charges.
Burchard worked for Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, now Montage Health for almost 40 years. His longtime girlfriend Judy Earp of Salinas told CBS Sacramento he helped Turner get a place to live and was paying her rent.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a family found Burchard’s car parked along East Lake Mead Boulevard with shattered window.