LAS VEGAS – A former Playboy model who grew up in Jonesboro was sentenced today in the brutal bludgeoning death of her elderly sugar daddy in Las Vegas.
Kelsey Turner, 29, was sentenced to 25 years in prison today for the murder of Dr. Thomas Burchard, 71, of California. Turner took an Alford plea to second-degree murder – meaning the defendant entered a guilty plea but maintains her innocence. Burchard was discovered beaten to death with a baseball bat in the back of Turner’s car in March, 2019 by Las Vegas police.
Turner, then 25, had previously pled not guilty to murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges before she reached a plea deal in early November. As part of the plea, she faced 10 to 25 years in prison. The judge gave her the maximum sentence, with credit for 1,371 days served. She will be eligible for parole after serving 10 years, KLAS reports.
At least some of the victim’s family attended the sentencing. Judy Earp, Burchard’s partner, read a victim impact statement before the sentencing.
“My entire world was viciously ripped from me with the murder of Thomas K. Burchard, my fiancé and long-time partner,” Earp said. “Since that time, I have suffered unimaginable grief and loss which has taken it’s toll on me physically, emotionally, and financially. I was the first to know something was seriously wrong when he did not get off the plane he was scheduled to fly home on.”
Earp said she believed Burchard was possibly suffering from dementia or early Alzheimer’s symptoms. She said Turner printed check’s from her home computer with Burchard’s account and routing numbers attached. She also said Turner began extorting Burchard, including with accusations of child sexual abuse material. Earp believed this mental torture contributed to Burchard’s decline.
“I will always wonder if there was something I could have done to prevent Tom from going to Las Vegas to see Kelsey Turner,” Earp said.
Earp asked the court to consider not only the physical torture inflicted by Turner’s boyfriend, Jon “Logan” Kennison, on Burchard – but to also consider the mental torture inflicted for months or longer.
“I never realized such evil existed in this world until this happened,” Earp said, her voice quivering.
Kennison and Diana Nicole Pena, Turner’s roommate, were also charged in connection with the murder. Pena pleaded guilty to accessory to murder in June, 2019. In June 2022, Kennison pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to 18 to 45 years. Pena testified to a grand jury she watched Kennison swing a baseball bat at Burchard, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. But this was apparently under the direction of Turner, as a memorandum filed by Kennison’s attorneys said.
“Logan’s error in judgment was becoming entangled with a master manipulator he could not rebuff,” the memorandum said. “He was also in love with her. Logan’s violence, thus, was a crime of passion. Turner’s frenzy fueled him. Her frenzy and calls for bloodlust sealed Dr. Burchard’s unjustified fate.”
By all accounts, Burchard was Turner’s “sugar daddy,” a more cute term for a rich, older man who pays for a younger woman’s lifestyle in exchange for her company and often, sexual favors. Burchard paid her house rent of $3,200 a month for at least a year. Earp has previously said Burchard gave Turner over $300,000 worth of gifts and money over the years. But the flow of money dried up and Burchard decided to cut her off. Turner didn’t stop spending his money, with or without his approval, as his partner said in court. So in March, 2019, he traveled to Las Vegas to confront her. Likely at her urging, Kennison hit the victim with a baseball bat. Instead of taking him to a hospital, as he begged for his life, Turner told Kennison to hit him again.
Burchard’s body and a bloodied bat were found in Turner’s abandoned Mercedes-Benz near Lake Mead.
On March 7, 2019, an abandoned vehicle was located on State Route 147, near mile marker 14 with a deceased male inside the trunk. An investigation by #LVMPD Homicide Detectives led to the arrest of 25-year-old Kelsey Turner in this incident. #LVMPDnews pic.twitter.com/rjYYJNeL3G
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) March 28, 2019
Turner posed as a model for Playboy Italia, the Italian version of the adult magazine by the same name in America. She also posed for Maxim magazine as well as others. She was born on May 5, 1993 in Norfolk, Virginia but she grew up in Jonesboro from a young age. She graduated at Nettleton and later attended Arkansas State University before moving to Salinas, California and eventually, to Las Vegas, Nevada.
One of her nicknames is Badd Barbie, also the name of an apparel company she started with a partner in 2021 – after her arrest for murder. Turner has over 42,000 followers on her Instagram account, which is @kelseyturnerbaddbarbie. She reportedly has three children.