The family of murder victim Frederick Richard Albrecht is burdened, not only with the grief of his death last weekend, but with concerns that his friendship with the shooting suspect's estranged wife has been misrepresented.
They also are concerned that the justice system may not hold the assailant properly accountable for the death, family members said Saturday.
Albrecht, 46, a local contractor, was shot twice in his Carson City home on Aug. 5. Anthony Echols, 39, of Carson City was arrested for investigation of the slaying and reportedly admitted to officers that he shot Albrecht.
Echols had been jailed briefly earlier that Saturday after being reported as violating a temporary protective order obtained by his wife, Karen Echols. The couple is in the midst of a divorce and a hearing was pending regarding a previous alleged violation of a restraining order by Anthony Echols.
Less than two hours after Anthony Echols bailed out Aug. 5, Albrecht was found dead.
"The papers said that Rick (as Albrecht was known) was dating Karen Echols, and we don't know that that's true," Phil Atchian, Albrecht's brother-in-law, said Saturday. "A better way of describing their relationship is 'purely friends.'
"Now, this will be a high-visibility case and the family is concerned there will be an accurate accounting of what goes on in the courts, and that people don't add their own prejudices of what occurred."
Steve Leonard, Albrecht's brother, said he and other family members also worry that Echols, if convicted, could somehow receive a lenient sentence. They say the case deserves the death penalty.
"We fear the district attorney will fail us like the justice system has already failed us," Leonard said. "We live every day with the fear this system is going to fail us again.
"We're going to put the pressure on, keep this case highly visible, because we feel this should be the community's problem, too. If Anthony Echols is not dealt with in the most severe manner, then we'll have more Anthony Echolses in the future.
"We live in a state that voted the death penalty in and we're holding (district attorney) Noel Waters accountable. We want the death penalty for (Albrecht's killer)," Leonard said.
Atchian said Albrecht was not given the opportunity to bargain for his life, and the family believes that there should be no plea bargain in the case.
Albrecht's survivors are outraged, Leonard said, that they live in a society where a person they say made numerous threats can be released from jail after several violations.
"I'm outraged that they would release this man out on the street. The man was clearly a time bomb ready to explode," Leonard said. "He had cornered our family members and said 'I'm going to kill your brother.' He'd told Karen he would kill him, and he'd told the judge by his actions."
Atchian said the family has received a great deal of sympathy and support from the community, especially from members of St. Theresa's Catholic Church and its guild.
Albrecht's survivors include parents Joe and Elizabeth Leonard of Carson City; stepmother Hildi Albrecht of Incline Village; son Mark of Jackson Hole, Wyo.; daughters Sheri Clark and Laurie Albrecht; brother Steve Leonard; sisters Christy Joyce, Patsy Correlli and Cathy Atchian; and granddaughter Emily Rose Clark, all of Carson City.