Travises agree to deal in Overland case | NevadaAppeal.com
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Travises agree to deal in Overland case

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Kevin Lee Travis

Nearly 18 months after a brutal, blood-filled brawl at the Overland Hotel that left one man dead, the two men accused of the attack appeared Tuesday in District Court.

The charges, however, surprised some as Kevin and Levi Travis each entered an Alford Plea to one count of conspiracy to commit battery and one count of attempt to commit involuntary manslaughter, respectively. They had been charged with second-degree murder and a deadly weapon count.

The plea, though, does not admit guilt and maintains an individual’s innocence.

According to the plea agreement, the state will not seek any jail time. Levi Travis’ charge, though, is known as a wobbler, where a judge could rule the offense a gross misdemeanor or Category E felony. A gross misdemeanor carries a sentence of six months to one year in jail, while the felony carries a prison sentence of one to four years. Kevin Travis’ charge is a ross misdemeanor.

Sentencing, however, is up to a judge.

Despite the penalties, the two Idaho men agreed to probation and to pay $17,774.01 in restitution to Richard Johnson and burial expenses for Harvey Olson.

The state’s position was the blows sustained from the Travises led to Olson’s death; however, the defense team of Reno attorneys David Houston, Cotter Conway, John Routsis and Ken Lyon discovered Olson suffered from a terminal case of liver failure, according to a press release.

Churchill County Chief Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills had little to say about the case. Mills declined to disclose the issues and did not comment about the outcome of case.

“There were certainly some evidentiary issues that arose during the course of litigation in this matter,” he said.

The defense’s press release stated Olson’s alcoholic condition “was so advance he required vodka during the course of his hospitalization to avoid what is known as Delirium Tremors.”

Defense expert witnesses were prepared to testify that Olson was terminal and any injuries sustained in the brawl were incidental.

During the defense’s investigation, it was also discovered Olson brandished a knife and attacked one of the Travises. The brawl, according to defense witness, was initiated by Olson and Johnson, which supported the defense’s claim during the preliminary hearing that Olson had a reputation for fighting and who would have started the incident.

The four men engaged in the fight on Jan. 22, 2012, after a homophobic slur was uttered by Levi Travis, according to testimony from Linda Johnson at the preliminary hearing.

Routsis, though, questioned Linda Johnson if she recalled making a comment to Rick Johnson about the Travises sexual orientation and she said she remember thinking the two men were lovers and never told her husband of the thought.

Rick Johnson, though, said he and his wife did have a discussion about the two being gay, but nothing came about. Linda Johnson said she has gay friends who frequented the Overland on numerous occasions.

After the brawl, however, Olson was transported to Reno Renown Medical Center and died Feb. 3.

The father and son were travelling from Idaho to California and stopped in Fallon for the night. They rented a room at the Overland then had dinner around 5 p.m. and moved to the bar for drinks afterward.

Several hours later, the brawl erupted and Kevin and Levi Travis were arrested and bailed out hours later on more than $100,000 bond.

Each were originally charged with one count of principal to second-degree murder to a victim over 60 or older and principal to a crime with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm in the death of Olson.

The Travises will be sentenced Aug. 20 in District Court.