Former ER doctor convicted of two murders
January 22, 2013
A former emergency room doctor convicted in Douglas County of kidnapping his estranged wife in 2002, was found guilty Friday in Arkansas of two murders committed a month before he took the woman hostage.A Faulkner County, Ark., jury deliberated about an hour on Jan. 18 before finding Richard Conte, 63, guilty of two counts of capital murder.The former Carson City emergency room doctor was convicted of the shooting deaths of 49-year-old Carter Elliott and 25-year-old Timothy Wayne Robertson, whose bodies were discovered May 18, 2002.The kidnapping occurred in June 2002.Arkansas prosecutor Cody Hiland did not seek the death penalty which means Conte will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson, who prosecuted Conte on the kidnapping, said Tuesday he was pleased with the Arkansas outcome.“I was real excited to hear the news,” he said. “It was one of those cases where we felt there was a lot of incriminating evidence and strong circumstantial evidence.”Jackson said he was happy for the victims’ family members.“This was a case sitting out there for a little over a decade,” he said. “I don’t know that they will get full closure, but there is the fact that Mr. Conte was convicted, and they can start the healing process.”Jackson offered congratulations to the Arkansas prosecutor.“Kudos to the new DA,” he said. “The former district attorney wouldn’t prosecute. We held onto that evidence for years, trying to get the DA to take it.”He said Hiland started reviewing the case when he was elected in 2010.Conte received enough “good time” credit in Nevada state prison that he served just nine years of a 15-year sentence for kidnapping his estranged wife from Utah, binding and drugging her and holding her captive for two days in his Clear Creek Road home in June 2002.The couple had been married only 90 days before Lark Gathright-Elliott filed for divorce. When officers found Gathright-Elliott chained to Conte’s bed, they also noted a map on Conte’s computer with directions to Carter Elliott’s home in Conway, Ark., and a list of police scanner frequencies for Conway.Carter Elliott and Robertson were found dead in Elliott’s Conway, Ark., home on May 18, 2002. Each man had been shot execution-style, once in the head, according to police.Carter Elliott was Gathright-Elliott’s first husband.Conte was charged with the Arkansas murders two days before he was to be released from Nevada state prison and was extradited to Arkansas.