Supreme Court rejects Elvik plea for new trial

It took the Supreme Court just two weeks to reject Peter Quinn Elvik's plea for a new trial.

His lawyers asked the high court on Oct. 15 to overturn his 1996 murder conviction because his trial lawyer didn't do his job.

Elvik was 14 when he shot and killed William Gibson, 63, at the Carson City shooting range in August 1995. The jury refused to believe the killing was self-defense, and Elvik's appeal lawyer said that is a good example of how inadequate the trial attorney was.

"There were no facts to support self-defense in this case," appeal lawyer Thomas Michaelides said. "Gibson was shot in the back."

He also argued Elvik's confessions should have been suppressed because of his age and questions over whether he understood the full impact of his statements to police.

But the high court panel of Justices Bob Rose, Cliff Young and Deborah Agosti rejected most of the claims, saying they were tactical decisions made by trial counsel.

Tactical decisions, the order points out, "cannot provide the grounds for an ineffective assistance claim" unless there are extraordinary circumstances in the case. That, the justices said, didn't happen in Elvik's case.

The decision rejects arguments that the confessions should have been suppressed and that Elvik's mother was coerced into allowing his interrogation, among other claims.

Elvik was sentenced to life in prison with possible parole for the killing. He fled after Gibson's death and was finally arrested in Southern California.

Prosecutor Anne Langer, representing Carson City, said nothing in the appeal would have changed the jury's mind. She described Elvik as extremely smart and said he deliberately waited for Gibson so he could steal his car that morning at the shooting range.


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