Carson City District Attorney resurrects 20 year old murder case, calling for a new trial
December 1, 2016
Carson City District Attorney Jason Woodbury said Tuesday he will retry Peter Quinn Elvik for the now 21-year-old murder of William Gibson.
Elvik's 1996 conviction was overturned in federal court and Woodbury said if his office didn't retry the case, "it would legally be as if he was never convicted."
"The reversal was complete," Woodbury said. "He would not be a convicted felon. He would not be on parole."
He said for those reasons a new trial is necessary of a "sense of there needing to be justice, some recognition that a crime has been committed."
As for a new sentence, he said he doesn't know if he will be looking for a hefty new sentence in the case.
Elvik, 36, was living with his grandfather in Jacks Valley at the time of the shooting.
Elvik was paroled this summer after 20 years in prison. Woodbury said it wouldn't be right to allow the parole conditions and other sanctions on Elvik to go away.
Elvik was convicted of shooting Gibson and stealing his weapons and car from the Carson City gun range on Aug. 31, 1995.
The case was overturned because the judge in the case failed to instruct jurors that because Elvik was 14 at the time, he was presumed not to understand that his actions were wrong.
A three-judge panel headed by U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro said failure to give that instruction made it much easier for the jury to convict Elvik. Two of the three judges concluded that the prosecution should have been required to prove that Elvik knew what he did was wrong.
Woodbury said the notice was filed with the federal court Tuesday and that he would file a similar notice in Carson District Court before the end of the week. He said that starts the federal 120-day clock in the case. They have that much time, until the end of March, to begin jury selection.
He said the charges will be the same as in Elvik's first trial: open murder, murder with a deadly weapon, robbery and robbery with a deadly weapon.
One of the issues Woodbury and his staff had to deal with is the fact that four key witnesses in the first trial are no longer living. Gibson's wife June, stepson Robert Wegg, crime scene investigator Barry Craven and Dan Nuckolls of the sheriff's department are now deceased.
But Woodbury said he plans to convince the judge he should be allowed to use their testimony from the first trial, which is permitted under Nevada law in certain cases.