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Roommate to plead to accessory charge in doctor slaying case

By KEN RITTERJune 7, 2019
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FILE - This undated Clark County Detention Center file booking photo shows Diana Nicole Pena. A lawyer says Kelsey Nichole Turner, a 26-year-old former magazine model, her boyfriend and their former roommate are headed toward trial in the killing of a California psychiatrist in Las Vegas. Attorney Brian Smith said Friday, May 31, 2019 that Turner, Jon Kennison and Pena are due before a judge on Monday, June 3, on murder and conspiracy charges in the slaying of 71-year-old Thomas Kirk Burchard. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via AP)
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FILE - This undated Clark County Detention Center file booking photo shows Diana Nicole Pena. A lawyer says Kelsey Nichole Turner, a 26-year-old former magazine model, her boyfriend and their former roommate are headed toward trial in the killing of a California psychiatrist in Las Vegas. Attorney Brian Smith said Friday, May 31, 2019 that Turner, Jon Kennison and Pena are due before a judge on Monday, June 3, on murder and conspiracy charges in the slaying of 71-year-old Thomas Kirk Burchard. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department via AP)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former roommate who has cooperated in the prosecution of a former magazine model and the model’s boyfriend in the killing of a California psychiatrist is preparing to plead guilty to an accessory to murder charge.

Diana Nicole Pena, 31, is due in court Tuesday after agreeing to plead guilty to a reduced charge in the death of 71-year-old Dr. Thomas Burchard.

Pena’s attorney, Jess Matsuda, said Friday his client could get probation or up to five years in prison for her felony conviction.

Former Playboy Italia and Maxim model Kelsey Nichole Turner and boyfriend Jon Logan Kennison face murder and conspiracy charges. They’re due in court Thursday.

Their attorneys have said they’ll plead not guilty.

Turner and Kennison are accused of bludgeoning Burchard and leaving his body in the trunk of Turner’s car found March 7 in the desert outside Las Vegas.

Police say Burchard, who lived in Salinas, California, had an intimate relationship with Turner and paid rent on a Las Vegas home where Turner, Kennison and Pena lived.

Police found blood, footprints, cleaning supplies and items bearing Kennison’s name in the house and garage, and towels that matched one found with Burchard’s body.

Turner, 26, was arrested March 21 in Stockton, California.

Kennison, 27, was arrested April 17 in Las Vegas.

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This story corrects the spelling of Kelsey Turner’s middle name, Nichole, not Nicole.

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