Kidnapper to face victim, her family during sentencing today

The daughter of a woman kidnapped by her estranged Carson City husband said Monday she hopes to testify against the former emergency-room physician during his sentencing in Douglas County today.

Ashley Elliott, 25, said she will ask Douglas County Judge David Gamble to sentence Dr. Richard Conte to the maximum of 21 years for drugging and kidnapping her mother, Lark Gathright-Elliott, 45, from her home in Salt Lake City in June.

Gathright-Elliott is expected to testify.

Conte initially was charged with second-degree kidnapping with a deadly weapon, unlawful administration of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property.

In a plea bargain Dec. 17, Conte admitted to the kidnapping in exchange for dismissal of the deadly-weapon enhancement, which would have doubled his sentence, and the stolen-property charge.

Conte also agreed to forfeit an arsenal of weapons, including grenades and a grenade launcher.

A month before Gathright-Elliott's kidnapping, her ex-husband, Carter Elliott, was found murdered at his home in Conway, Ark.

Faulkner County investigators immediately came to Nevada after Conte's arrest because Douglas County police allegedly found a map of Conway on Conte's computer.

"(Conte) was insanely jealous of my father," Elliott said Monday. "I want to make sure that he goes away for kidnapping my mother."

Elliott said Faulkner County police have been tight-lipped about the investigation. They haven't named Conte as a suspect in other crimes, nor have they cleared him.

"I want to be able to be heard," she said of today's hearing. "This not only affects my mother, but it affects our family as a whole. We still have to live in fear. He could spend a few years in prison and decide when he gets out 'I'll get them all back now.'"

She said because of Conte's standing in Carson City -- for 10 years, he was a respected emergency-room physician at Carson-Tahoe Hospital -- she is afraid the sentence won't reflect the seriousness of his offense.

"He was obsessed with my mother," she said. "He did plot and plan and execute a kidnapping. He drugged my mother. It would be asinine if he didn't get the maximum time."


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