Jury to decide fate in 1999 double murder | NevadaAppeal.com

Jury to decide fate in 1999 double murder

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

A Yerington jury is hearing the sentencing phase in a 1999 double-murder at Lahontan State Park after it was discovered the original sentence handed down in 2001 by a judge was in error because it should have come from a jury.

Lyon County Deputy District Attorney Eileen Barnett said the new jury was seated Wednesday. Testimony began the same day in the sentencing of John Stinchfield Jr., 32, on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Stinchfield Jr. was found guilty in November 2000 of killing George Robles, 58, and Phyllis McKellar, 69, and attempting to kill his father, John Stinchfield Sr., on the night of Aug. 28, 1999, after an alcohol-fueled argument over a fishing hole at Lake Lahontan in Silver Springs.

A Lyon County district court judge recognized the error in Stinchfield’s sentencing after Stinchfield’s attorney filed a post conviction writ of habeus corpus. Under Nevada law, sentencing in a first-degree murder case must come from a jury

Stinchfield was serving two sentences of life without parole and eight to 20 years on the attempted murder charge.

The alternatives being considered by the jury are life with parole after 20 years, or a definite term of 50 years in prison with parole eligibility after 20 years.

Barnett said the state is asking for life without parole.

One witness is expected to testify on Stinchfield’s behalf today before the case goes to the jury, Barnett said.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.


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