A man and woman charged in the death of a California doctor pleaded not guilty in a Las Vegas courtroom Thursday.
Jon Kennison and Kelsey Turner, both 26, face murder and conspiracy charges in the killing of 71-year-old Thomas Burchard.
Pena, who was released on her own recognizance Tuesday, faces up to five years behind bars, but her attorney has said that he would ask a judge to give her probation.
The psychiatrist’s body was found March 7 in the trunk of Turner’s abandoned Mercedes-Benz C300 in a remote area east of Las Vegas. Both Turner’s and Pena’s fingerprints were found on the car, authorities have said.
Cellphone records indicate the Salinas, California man was last active on his phone on March 3. He never returned to California on March 4, the day he had planned to go home.
Officers found his body in the trunk of Turner’s 2017 two-door Mercedes, parked on a high-centered dirt berm, police reports said.
Police have said that Burchard traveled to Las Vegas on March 1 to visit Turner, with whom he had an intimate relationship.
Burchard had paid the roommates’ March rent in full and had previously been paying Turner’s rent in California, his longtime girlfriend, Judy Earp, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
After Thursday’s brief hearing, Turner’s attorney, Brian Smith, spoke with reporters about Pena’s plea.
“It changes things, certainly,” he said. “It was not unexpected. So the change in circumstances is certainly something we can deal with.”
He added: “I think a lot of inconsistencies will come out” regarding Pena’s statements to authorities.
Turner and Kennison are being held in the Clark County Detention Center without bail.