Carson City judge denies request for new sentence

Michael Evans

Michael Evans

A Carson City judge denied re-sentencing on a two-year-old murder charge Wednesday in District Court.

Michael Evans is currently serving a life sentence with possibility of parole for second-degree murder for his involvement in the 2013 death of Nevada Insurance Examiner William McCune.

Evans, along with Raul Garcia Jr., Anthony Elliot and Makayla Blackmore were all convicted for their roles in the murder. Garcia and Elliot are both serving 50 years in prison for first-degree murder with a minimum of 20 years behind bars and Blackmore was convicted of conspiracy, robbery and credit card charges. Evans pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with all other charges, including robbery and credit card charges being dropped for life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years.

McCune was killed in April 2013 after the men beat him to death in an attempt to obtain his pin numbers for his credit cards. They stole a number of items, then returned the next day to take more things. They wrapped McCune’s body in a blanket and duct tape and dumped him in the Carson River. Blackmore was said to be the getaway driver and was never actually in the Silver Oak Drive apartment.

Evans appeared in court Tuesday and Wednesday after filing a motion, claiming his attorneys didn’t provide him constitutionally adequate representation.

Evans claimed the plea bargain he signed and the presentation at sentencing didn’t provide him with the acceptable representation and his lawyers didn’t advise him of any appeals before taking the deal and sentencing.

Carson City District Attorney Jason Woodbury represented the state with the case, stating the two attorneys, lead attorney Dennis Widdis and second attorney Kay Ellen Armstrong provided the best representation of Evans as they could.

Widdis and Armstrong both testified in court, saying they both believed the plea deal was the best option for Evans. At the time the previous DA, Neil Rombardo, offered the second-degree charge to Evans. The death penalty was an option for the three men. Widdis said he didn’t believe the DA would drop the charges to less than life and expected if they didn’t take the deal, the trial would create a worse sentence for Evans.

“It was the best deal for my client offered by the state of Nevada,” Widdis said in court. “He was the first to provide the opportunity to roll on the other defendants. I couldn’t imagine at the time that the others would get less than life.”

The defense tried to argue because Evan’s previous attorneys were so eager to get him a plea deal first to make him look better to the courts, they actually harmed him because the others got a lesser sentence despite the fact Evans had the least involvement in the incident.

Evans and his defense also tried to argue his attorneys didn’t explain to him how the appeal process worked, but later on the stand, Evans admitted he didn’t know about the appeal and court processes because he didn’t understand the plea deal papers, but never asked his attorneys to explain.

In the end, the courts ruled with the state, citing no constitutional violation had occurred.

“I don’t think there is evidence of ineffective counsel with the matter,” said Judge John Tatro. “Issue is whether or not he had no appellate right and I think the testimonies clearly show no evidence of that.”


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