Lahontan Reservoir murder suspect to be arraigned in January
DAYTON – A Reno man accused of killing two Fernley residents at Lahontan Lake Recreation Area last summer will be arraigned in Lyon County district court in January.
After reviewing evidence at a preliminary hearing in Dayton justice court Friday, Justice of the Peace Ed Johnson sent the case of John Stinchfield Jr., 24, to the Third Judicial District Court in Yerington for trial.
Accused felons have the right to a judicial review of the merits of a case during a preliminary hearing. After hearing testimony from witnesses, a justice of the peace decides if there is evidence to send the case to the higher court.
Lyon County prosecutors believe Stinchfield shot George Robles, 58, and Phyllis McKellar, 69, in the head on Aug. 29 after an alcohol-fueled argument over a fishing hole. Stinchfield and his father, John Stinchfield Sr., were reportedly on a trip with the victims.
According to reports, Robles was sitting in the passenger side of a vehicle when he was killed. McKellar, who was sitting behind the wheel, ran from the truck. She made it as far as the next beach before she was also gunned down.
Stinchfield Sr. reportedly tried to drive Robles to the hospital, but got lost in the woods. A camper who saw Stinchfield Sr. and Robles drive into a campground testified Friday.
The hearing also included testimony from Stinchfield’s father, the case investigator, Reno police officer Jack Wilsey and Dr. Cathy Raven, a forensic pathologist.
Wilsey, an off-duty Reno police officer who was camping in the area, testified that he encountered Stinchfield carrying a rifle. Estes said Wilsey disarmed Stinchfield.
Raven, who performed the autopsies of Robles and McKellar, testified that the two were each killed by a single gunshot to the head. She said bullets removed from the bodies were sent to a government laboratory for ballistics testing.
Lyon County District Attorney Robert Estes said Stinchfield is accused of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder “presumably for taking a shot at his father who was driving the van.”
After a psychological evaluation in November, Stinchfield was found competent to stand trial.
Stinchfield’s district court arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 3 at 9 a.m.