Reno man to appear for preliminary in Lahontan Reservoir slayings

YERINGTON - A 24-year-old Reno man, accused in the murder of a Fernley couple at Lahontan Reservoir, will appear in court Friday to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial.

John Stinchfield Jr. is charged with killing George Robles, 58, and Phyllis McKellar, 69, after an alcohol-fueled argument over a fishing hole on Aug. 29. Stinchfield was found competent to stand trial during a psychological evaluation earlier this month, said Lyon County District Attorney Robert Estes.

According to reports, Robles was sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle when he was shot to death. McKellar, who was sitting behind the wheel, reportedly ran from the truck. She made it as far as the next beach before she was also gunned down.

Both victims were shot in the head. They were on a fishing trip with the suspect and his father, John Stinchfield Sr., according to reports.

"We will have the forensic pathologist testify that they died of gunshot wounds," Estes said. He said the .22-caliber bullets removed from the victims match the caliber of the weapon found on the suspect.

Stinchfield Sr. reportedly tried to drive Robles to a hospital but got lost in the back country near the lake. No charges were filed against the elder Stinchfield.

After the murders were reported, a three-hour search of the area ended when Stinchfield was found crouching behind a bush, according to police.

Reno police officer Jack Wiley, an off-duty officer who said he saw Stinchfield walking around with a rifle, pinned Stinchfield while Lyon County Sgt. John Arndell went for help, according to reports.

"He disarmed this guy who just killed two people," Estes said, praising Wiley. "Who knows how many more people might have died?"

A background check on Stinchfield revealed that he was on probation for a robbery conviction, Estes said. He said Stinchfield may face an additional charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Stinchfield's hearing starts at 9 a.m.


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