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Woman reaches plea deal in California doctor’s death

A 31-year-old woman with ties to the death of a California doctor has worked out a deal with Las Vegas prosecutors.

Diana Pena, the roommate of two people indicted last week on murder and conspiracy charges in the slaying of 71-year-old Thomas Burchard, is expected to plead guilty to a separate charge next week, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Along with Jon Kennison, 27, and Kelsey Turner, 26, Pena is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.

Defense attorney Jess Matsuda has said Pena turned herself in to police and has pleaded not guilty to murder.

“She has maintained throughout this entire case that she was not involved in the actual murder or the conspiracy to commit the murder,” Matsuda said. “And the plea is going to reflect that.”

He and prosecutor Pamela Weckerly declined to say what charge Pena would admit to or whether she had testified before a grand jury that returned an indictment against Turner and Kennison last week.

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.

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 their 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.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find @randompoker on Twitter.

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