Former Playboy Model Sentenced In The Killing Of Psychiatrist Found Dead In Her Trunk

Kelsey Turner was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison for killing 71-year-old Thomas Kirk Burchard, a psychiatrist she previously had a relationship with.

January 13, 2023
Kelsey Nichole Turner, pictured here, was sentenced Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, in Nevada to 10 to 25 years in prison for the 2019 killing of a California doctor.

Kelsey Turner was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison for killing 71-year-old Thomas Kirk Burchard, a psychiatrist she previously had a relationship with.

Photo by: San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office

San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office

On Jan. 10, 2023, Kelsey Turner, a 29-year-old former model for Maxim and Playboy Italia magazines, was sentenced to 10 to 25 years at the Nevada Department of Corrections. The sentencing was for her part in the 2019 murder of 71-year-old psychiatrist Thomas Kirk Burchard, and it was the result of an Alford plea deal and a negotiated sentence, according to PEOPLE.

As part of the deal, Turner acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to prove second-degree murder, but maintains her innocence, reported USA Today. She will be eligible for parole in 10 years because of the plea.

Turner and Burchard had previously been in a relationship, and his bludgeoned body was found in the trunk of Turner’s car in the desert near the entrance to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. According to the Clark County coroner, he had been beaten to death and had head injuries from an object that left a unique pattern behind.

CBS News reported that Turner had an “intimate relationship” with the victim, and he had been paying the rent for the Las Vegas home where she lived with another boyfriend, Jon Logan Kennison, 29, and an additional roommate named Diana Nicole Pena.

Investigators were able to place the three roommates – Turner, Kennison, and Pena – together at the time when Burchard was reported missing by Judy Earp, his longtime girlfriend in Salinas. Following Burchard’s murder, they suddenly moved out of the house.

Police found evidence in the bedroom of that home: a door broken in half, blood and things bearing Kennison’s name. Footprints and apparent blood were found in the garage. Cleaning supplies were discovered in both rooms. Towels matching the one found with Burchard’s body were found in the home, too, according to CBS News.

The victim’s body was found underneath clothes and bedding in the trunk of Turner’s abandoned car. Kennison's and Pena’s fingerprints were found in the car as well as a baseball bat. PEOPLE reported that attempts were made to clean the vehicle.

Earp told CBS affiliate KLAS-TV that Turner stole upwards of $300,000 from Burchard when he tried to cut her off. Earp was allowed to address the court at Turner’s sentencing, explaining, “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. His last words to me were, ‘she’s such a pervasive liar that I had to see for myself.’”

Earp also accused Turner of luring Burchard to Las Vegas to kill him by saying she was sick and couldn’t afford to take care of her child. Since she claims Turner has threatened her life via text message before, Earp says she fears that Turner will retaliate. She added, “I never realized such evil existed in this world until this happened. 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 2022 to 18 to 45 years in prison after he pled guilty to conspiracy and second-degree murder. Pena pled guilty to accessory to murder, admitted that she helped clean the crime scene after the murder, and gave police evidence in the case against Turner.

In addition to jail time, Turner was also ordered to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees.

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