Former Playboy Model Pleads Guilty

Model takes Alford plea for the death of 71-year-old psychiatrist


Abigail Shimniok graphic

Former model for Playboy Italia and Maxim, Kelsey Turner, 29, took the Alford plea deal to the murder of Thomas Burchard, 71, a psychiatrist who was romantically involved with the model.

Las Vegas Metropolitan police found Burchard in the back of Turner’s abandoned vehicle on State Route 147 with a bloody bat on March 7, 2019. Turner, her boyfriend and her roommate all pleaded guilty to separate charges.

Turner faces 10 to 25 years after taking the Alford plea, which is remaining innocent but accepting the consequences of the second-degree murder guilty verdict.

Cornell Law School states that the Alford plea “registers a formal admission of guilt towards charges in criminal court while the defendant simultaneously expresses their innocence toward those same charges.”

The Alford plea allows the convict to skip the criminal trial and face the repercussions of a guilty verdict. This plea deal is not a right and is only offered by a judge or prosecutors. The plea is similar to the nolo contendere plea; However, the convict is not pleading guilty or innocent. The Alford plea means that the convict admits guilt, which can be used against them in future trials.

The plea deal allows Turner to be eligible for parole in 10 years.

It was reported that Turner and Burchard had a romantic relationship and he paid for her apartment in Las Vegas.

According to Oxygen, “Authorities said he (Burchard) had planned to end their relationship and traveled to Las Vegas to cut her off financially at the time of his death.”

Turner’s boyfriend, Jon Kennison, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in June 2022. Kennison’s attorneys say that Turner was the main culprit and manipulated her boyfriend into the murder. He has been sentenced to 45 years in prison. 

CBS News reports, “Diana Pena, the roommate, testified Turner was romantically involved with Burchard and was upset by images and messages saved on his phone. 

Pena said Jon Kennison, the boyfriend, hit the victim with a bat. Instead of taking him to the hospital, Turner told Kennison to hit him again.”

Pena pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the murder in June 2022 and agreed to testify against Turner.

Turner’s sentencing will take place on Jan. 10, 2023.