Crystal Bay killer on Pardons Board agenda
November 28, 2005
Michael Anselmo, serving a life sentence without parole for murdering a Crystal Bay casino worker 34 years ago, will get his second chance at a pardon next month.
Anselmo, now 53, was 18 when he grabbed Trudy Ann Hiler as she left the Cal Neva Lodge after finishing her shift in July 1971. The body of the 22-year-old Chico State student was found two days later hidden under a rock ledge between the casino and the lake shore. She had been strangled and stabbed to death.
Anselmo’s pardon bid is on the Dec. 14 agenda along with three other murderers, one rapist, three drug dealers and one habitual criminal.
He was convicted in April 1972 and sentenced to life without possible parole. He has asked several times that the sentence be reduced or commuted to allow the possibility of parole. The Pardons Board rejected his application in 1990, in part because Anselmo had twice escaped from prison in the intervening years. In addition to life for the murder, Anselmo is serving two sentences for escapes in Carson City and Las Vegas.
His latest application to the board asks his life sentence be commuted to allow the possibility of parole and that the two 10-year sentences for escape be changed to run concurrently with immediate parole eligibility.
Anselmo was a busboy at the North Shore resort at the time of the murder. He was arrested nine days later based partly on information he gave casino security officers which helped them find the body. He said he acted while under the influence of a large amount of LSD.
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But during trial, he denied the murder and tried to pin it on another man he identified only as “John.”
After he was denied by the Pardon’s Board in 1990, Anselmo wrote a piece for a newspaper admitting the murder but saying he has paid with more than 20 years in prison and asking the public to support his release.
The Pardons Board consists of the governor, attorney general and the seven members of the Nevada Supreme Court. One of those members is Justice Bob Rose, who was Washoe County District Attorney in 1972 and prosecuted Anselmo.
The other three murder cases on the agenda are Lawrence Baccari and Bennie Ficklin form Clark County and Lisa Kerwin from Washoe County. Prison spokesman Fritz Schlottman said there are “not very many” women serving sentences for murder in Nevada.
Kerwin was convicted in 1989 of shooting Tracy Hyland, 25, to death at a residence on Lake Street in Reno.
In addition, Jeffrey Brillhart is asking his six life sentences for sexual assault be rolled together to run concurrently, and Harold Lyons, sentenced to life as an habitual criminal, is asking to be allowed the possibility of parole.
Robert Fuller, George Gonzalez and Alberto Martinez are all asking the board for relief from drug-conviction sentences.
n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.