Ex-Model Takes Plea in Killing of Psychiatrist, 71

Prosecutors say victim Thomas Burchard cut off money he had been giving to Kelsey Turner
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2019 6:31 AM CDT
Updated Nov 11, 2022 10:41 AM CST
UPDATE Nov 11, 2022 10:41 AM CST

A former model has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the fatal beating of a 71-year-old psychiatrist, reports USA Today. Kelsey Turner, 29, took what's known as an Alford plea in the 2019 slaying of Thomas Burchard, meaning she maintained her innocence while pleading guilty to the murder charge. Prosecutors say the California man was killed after traveling to Las Vegas to tell Turner he would no longer fund her lifestyle after a two-year relationship. Her boyfriend at the time and her roommate also have pleaded guilty in the case, per People. The site notes that Turner's social media accounts described her as a model who once posed for Playboy. She faces 10 to 25 years when sentenced on Jan. 10.

Mar 29, 2019 6:31 AM CDT

A man driving along a remote stretch of road outside Las Vegas earlier this month stumbled upon an abandoned car. Weeks later, a 25-year-old woman has been arrested by the FBI in California, tied to the homicide of a 71-year-old psychiatrist whose body cops say was found in that car. Per KVVU, Thomas Burchard's body was discovered when a father driving with his kids on March 7 spotted the vehicle, which had a broken window, and called the police, who say they found Burchard's body in the trunk. KSBW reports Kelsey Turner was nabbed by FBI agents in Stockton, Calif., on March 21 and charged with first-degree murder tied to the death of Burchard, who Turner's mom says had known her daughter for a long time.

Per the Clark County coroner, Burchard died of blunt-force trauma to his head. A source who seems to have known Burchard tells KSBW the doctor met Turner online and at some point stopped paying the rent on a home in Salinas where Turner, her kids, and her mom lived, at which point Turner moved to Las Vegas. The source says Burchard also gave Turner "anywhere from [$2,000] to $4,000 a week, easily," and that before heading to Vegas Burchard had said he felt "partially responsible" for troubles Turner was reportedly having with an abusive boyfriend.

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The Californian notes Turner's booking photo and name seem to match those found on Facebook of a woman who has posed for risque magazines, though that hasn't been confirmed. Per the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Turner remained in the San Joaquin County Jail as of Wednesday and was set to be extradited to Las Vegas. "Whoever did this is just soulless," Burchard's girlfriend says. (More murder stories.)

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