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Ex-Playboy and Maxim Model Kelsey Turner Signs Plea Deal in Death of California Psychiatrist Found Stuffed in Trunk of a Car


A former Playboy and Maxim model has quietly entered a plea in the death of 71-year-old Dr. Thomas Burchard.

Kelsey Turner entered an Alford plea and stipulated to facing 10 to 25 years in prison when she’s sentenced in January, a representative for the defendant confirmed to Law&Crime. Turner was arrested in the infamous case back in 2019, when she was accused of murdering the California psychiatrist. Burchard’s body was discovered stuffed in the trunk of a car.

Turner was taken into custody by federal agents after an investigation by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) determined she and others were involved in the slaying of Burchard. Turner’s co-defendant and former boyfriend Jon Kennison previously pleaded guilty to murder and conspiracy in the case. Diana Pena also pleaded guilty to accessory to commit murder.

Authorities said the child psychiatrist had known Turner for some time, and even had a relationship with her for years. He had also been paying the model’s rent for nearly a year, KTNV reported. After Burchard abruptly stopped paying Turner’s $3,200 rent per-month in the fall of 2018, Turner, her two children, and her mother were evicted for not paying rent.

On March 7, 2019, LVMPD officers discovered Burchard’s body in an abandoned vehicle near the entrance to Lake Mead National Recreation Area in southeastern Nevada.

The car, located on Silver State Route 147, was reported to authorities by a man driving through the area with his children because it was parked alone with a rock thrown through one of the windows. As investigators inventoried the car, however, the psychiatrist’s body was found stuffed inside the trunk. According to police, Burchard had been bludgeoned to death by some kind of a blunt instrument.

Kelsey Turner

With the Alford plea, Turner avoids trial and does not admit guilt, but she accepts the punishment that goes along with the concession that there is enough evidence to convict.

Las Vegas court records reviewed by Law&Crime say that the plea was entered on Wednesday afternoon.

Sentencing is expected to occur on Jan. 10, 2023.

Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

[Image via KTNV screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.