After more than 16 months, Churchill County prosecutors secured a plea in the second-degree murder case against John Russell Silvey.
Silvey, 49, of Fallon entered an Alford plea Friday in District Court during a change of plea hearing and will be sentenced Aug. 20. A defendant who enters an Alford plea does not admit guilt, but the plea operates as a guilty plea.
Silvey shot and killed his neighbor, Michael Caudill, 41, of Fallon on Feb. 16, 2012, at Silvey’s home on Hicks Road on the Fallon Pauite-Shoshone Tribe Reservation. Neither man was a member of the tribe.
According to Churchill County Chief Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills, Caudill was shot four times.
Silvey’s trial was slated to begin Monday, but the 49-year-old county resident signed the plea deal on July 1. The agreement stipulates a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years.
His attorney, Dave Neidert, said he and Silvey discussed the deal at length and decided it was the best option. Neidert said he was prepared to argue for self-defense at a trial.
The state, led by Mills, was prepared to argue for first-degree murder and numerous weapons charges. Neidert, though, said the evidence against his client may have persuaded a jury to convict Silvey for first-degree murder.
The state’s case, meanwhile, centered around a video of the killing, according to court documents. Records indicate Silvey started surveillance of Caudill and his residence in 2010. Furthermore, Silvey also kept a “Neighborhood Data Sheet” dated July 13, 2010.
According to court records, Caudill approached Silvey at about 9:47 a.m. on Feb. 16, 2012, in a dispute over Caudill’s dog. Two seconds later, Caudill runs away from Silvey, who fires seven shots at Caudill.
Caudill falls to the ground, gets up and starts running again. Silvey, however, takes several more steps toward Caudill and fires three additional rounds.
Caudill, meanwhile, was still alive and able to drag himself home and call 9-1-1. Caudill was transported to Banner Churchill Community Hospital and later taken to Renown Regional Medical Center by Care Flight, where he died.
Court records also detail a conversation Silvey had with a friend, which appears to show Silvey planned the murder.
“Only two witnesses, the security camera and the fish and game guy that was way down the road,” Silvey said about the shooting. “So nobody heard nothing. The security camera won’t hearing anything that far away. I already know that.
“So he was riddled from top to bottom … I mean he left a big blood trail. So he didn’t make no statement. Dead men don’t tell no tales.”