An ex-playboy model accused of murdering a California psychiatrist and stuffing his body in the trunk of a car after he stopped paying her rent has been sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison.
According to Las Vegas-based reporter present during the proceedings, 29-year-old Kelsey Turner, who has posed for both Playboy and Maxim, wept as the sentence was read.
Her pinup’s conviction comes two months after she owned up to the murder of 71-year-old Dr. Thomas Burchard, a California psychiatrist she had been dating before his body was found in her car in March 2019.
Turner and then-boyfriend Jon Kennison were arrested following the shocking discovery, with the former eventually entering an Alford plea in November.
An Alford plea refers to a guilty plea in which a defendant maintains their innocence but admits the prosecution’s evidence would likely result in a guilty verdict.
The plea deal had allowed Turner to skip trial, while also receiving a slighter sentence for the second-degree murder charge. She has the right to appeal the sentence.
Turner, maintains her innocence of the heinous murder, but accepts the punishment of a guilty verdict for the sole second-degree murder charge.
Last year, Kennison pleaded guilty to the same charge, admitting to prosecutors that he bludgeoned Burchard to death with a baseball bat and helped Turner hide the doctor’s corpse in Turner’s blue Mercedes-Benz C300.
After more than a year of insisting on his and Turner’s innocence, the suspect was sentenced to 18 to 45 years in prison.
Prosecutors said that the strange love triangle began with a May-December relationship between Turner and Burchard, a well-known, semiretired child psychiatrist in California.
Investigators said Turner and Burchard at some point before his death began dating, and entered an arrangement where the child psychiatrist was paying her rent for at least a year.
During that time, prosecutors said the former supermodel amassed a small fortune of more than $300,000 from her much older beneficiary, who was also paying the $3,200 monthly rent for her and her other beau’s posh Las Vegas apartment.
However, in November of 2019, the payments suddenly stopped, and Burchard traveled from California to Vegas to tell Turner that he could no longer foot the bill, which led to a physical altercation on a desert road in rural Nevada.
Turner and her then-boyfriend allegedly bludgeoned Burchard to death with a bat, and stuffed his body into the trunk of Turner’s luxury vehicle.
Judy Earp, Burchard’s other girlfriend of 17 years, said her then-partner had been providing for the model over the course of several years, and described Turner ‘as evil as Charles Manson’ in a brief interview to Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV.
‘The last conversation I had with him, he had to go to Las Vegas to check things out because she was a compulsive liar,’ the grieving woman said back in 2019.
When Buchard failed to get off a flight returning from Las Vegas in March 2019. Days later, he was found inside the trunk of Turner’s abandoned car.
The car, found on Silver State Route 147, was reported to Las Vegas police after a man driving through the area with his children saw that it was parked alone, with one of its windows shattered by a rock.
As investigators inventoried the car further, however, the psychiatrist’s body-savaged body was discovered, stuffed inside the trunk. At the time, police revealed to the public that Burchard had been bludgeoned to death by some kind of a blunt instrument.
Turner and Kennison were quickly tracked down and within days arrested, paving the way for the recently wrapped legal proceedings.
In a jailhouse interview with Access Hollywood prior to his conviction last year, Kennison denied their involvement in the murder and insisted that the victim was not his girlfriend’s ‘sugar daddy.’
Maintaining his and Turner’s innocence, the convicted killer argued ‘we’re not monsters, we didn’t do it,’ and instead pointed a finger of blame at his girlfriend’s former housemate, Diana Pena.
Pena was previously charged with murder in the case but pleaded guilty to one charge of accessory to murder in June 2019, insisting she had nothing to do with the bludgeoning itself.
Pena would later tell law enforcement that Turner and Burchard got into an altercation after Turner became ‘upset about photos and messages on the doctor’s phone.’
She added that she was there when she saw Kennison suddenly raise a bat at the unsuspecting vicitm, but didn’t see it connect. She further told police that she witnessed Turner egg the violence on. Pena added she later saw Kennison wrestling with the doctor – and that she was told to help clean up the scene after he was slain.
After their arrest, Kennison confirmed to police that Burchard had been paying for Turner’s Las Vegas house, car and bills, but denied he was her ‘sugar daddy.’
‘I think he was just a really good friend. He had a good heart,’ Kennison said.
However, after Burchard 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, Law & Crime reported.
Earp, who was engaged to Burchard before his death, told Access Hollywood time that she had raised concerns with him that Turner and other cash-strapped young women may have been taking advantage of him.
The doctor, however, ever-charitable, assured her: ‘That’s ok, I can afford it.’
According to Earp, Burchard had given Turner some $300,000 over the years, and that he often sent money to women he met online as well as patients.
This free financing had reportedly been a sticking point in the doctor’s 2001 divorce, and was what ultimately saw his life snuffed out.
‘He was always helping people,’ Earp told The Californian after Turner was first arrested. ‘Anybody with a sad story, you know. Some people took advantage of that.’
On or around March 2, 2019, Burchard attended a party at the home of Turner and her boyfriend. According to Kennison, at some point during the evening, the semi-retired child psychiatrist got into an argument with their housemate Pena.
Kennison claimed that he and Turner left the home on foot out of fear that their neighbors would call the police to make a noise complaint.
When asked how Burchard’s decomposing corpse ended up in the trunk of Turner’s car, he replied: ‘Diana had something to do with it.’
The jailed suspect further added that ‘it sounds like’ it was Pena who killed the psychiatrist.
In her testimony to the Grand Jury, Pena said it was Kennison who chased Burchard with a baseball bat after the doctor got into an argument with Turner.
Pena claimed to have seen Burchard emerge with a bruise on his head and demand medical attention. As the victim waited in the car to be taken to the hospital, the housemate said Kennison and Turner instructed her to clean up the blood in the apartment.
Pena ultimately pleaded guilty to accessory to murder in connection with Burchard’s death and will testify against Kennison and Turner, who could life in prison, if convicted.
The 71-year-old man’s body was found in the trunk of the Mercedes on March 7. An autopsy determined that he died of blunt-force trauma to the head.
In the abandoned vehicle, investigators recovered Burchard’s vest and house keys; collected fingerprint and possible DNA evidence; noted apparent blood spatter on seats and blue latex gloves; and found cleaning supplies.
‘Blood evidence in the back seat suggested Burchard was attacked in the vehicle,’ police said in Turner’s arrest warrant application.
The former model was arrested on March 21, 2019, in Stockton, California. Kennison was arrested on April 17, 2019, in Las Vegas.
When asked directly during the jailhouse interview whether he killed Burchard, Kennison said: ‘No.’
He added: ‘I would never hurt him. I would never harm him. I never did anything to him. When I left, he was perfectly fine.’