Court won’t dismiss 20-year-old Carson City murder case
January 24, 2019
The Nevada Supreme Court has denied a petition seeking dismissal of criminal charges against Peter Quinn Elvik.
The petition was filed by Public Defender Karen Kreizenbeck arguing since it involves the reinstatement of a 22-year-old case it raises serious constitutional issues.
Elvik was convicted in 1996 of shooting William Gibson to death at the Carson gun range. That conviction was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court because the trial judge refused to instruct jurors they had to specifically find Elvik, 14 at the time, understood what he did was wrong. But the final overturn didn't happen until 2013. Under Nevada law, defendants under age 14 are presumed not to understand their actions may be wrong.
Kreizenbeck argued several key witnesses are now dead, that notes by staff who evaluated Elvik at Lakes Crossing and private psychiatric officials no longer exist, making it impossible to present evidence of Elvik's immaturity at the time. She said because of the passage of time and the death of witnesses, it would violate Elvik's constitutional rights under the 5th and 14th Amendments to retry him.
Without that testimony, she said it's impossible to determine Elvik's state of mind some 23 years after the killing.
In an order by Chief Justice Mark Gibbons and Justices Kris Pickering and Jim Hardesty, the high court didn't close the door on the issue, but instead ruled "we are not persuaded that our extraordinary and discretionary intervention is warranted."
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That sends the case back to District Judge Todd Russell who had originally set the new trial for Feb. 19.
Elvik was paroled after 20 years in prison and is now living with relatives in California.
Carson DA Jason Woodbury agreed with Kreizenbeckit that it's incredibly difficult for both sides to put a case together 20 years later. He said four key witnesses are now deceased.
But he said he has to retry the case because if not, "it would legally be as if he was never convicted."
He said it wouldn't be right to let Elvik off without a conviction on his record.
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