Carson City murder from 1995 gets new trial date
District Judge Todd Russell on Monday set trial for Peter Quinn Elvik for May 5.
He scheduled a minimum of 10 days for the trial in the now-23-year-old murder case.
Elvik was convicted of the 1996 shooting death of William Gibson at the Carson gun range. That conviction was finally overturned in 2013 when the 9th Circuit Court ruled that the trial judge erred by not instructing jurors that they have to specifically find that Elvik, who was 14 at the time, understood that what he did was wrong.
Under Nevada law, defendants aged 14 and under are presumed not to understand that their actions may be wrong.
The 9th Circuit Court ruled that the failure to give that jury instruction made it much easier for jurors to convict Elvik
Elvik was paroled after 20 years in prison and is now living with relatives in California.
Monday’s ruling sets the case far enough out that DA Jason Woodbury and Elvik‘s lawyers — including Public Defender Karen Kreizenbeck — can still work on a plea bargain.
Woodbury has said he has to either reach a deal with the defendant and his counsel or retry the case because, “if not, it would legally be as if he was never convicted.” He said it wouldn’t be right to let Elvik off without a conviction on his record.
Elvik basically told his lawyers after he was released from prison that he has served his time and isn’t interested in pleading guilty to any crime even if he would likely be sentenced to time served.
“He would not be a convicted felon. He would not be on parole.”
Woodbury has said that if forced to a new trial and he wins a conviction, he would ask for a life sentence. He said no one is arguing that Elvik is not guilty of the murder.
The prospect of retrying Elvik has become much more difficult over the past two decades. At least four key witnesses are deceased and the notes taken by psychiatric staff at Lakes Crossing who evaluated Elvik no longer exist, making it extremely difficult to prove his state of mind 23 years ago.
Kreizenbeck argued in an appeal seeking dismissal of the charges that because of those facts, reinstating the murder charges raises serious constitutional issues. A three-member panel of the Nevada Supreme Court refused to do so but didn’t completely close the door to that argument. Instead, they ruled that, “we are not persuaded that our extraordinary and discretionary intervention is warranted.”