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Murder trial set Monday

F.T. Norton, Appeal Staff Writer

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the long-awaited murder trial of a Carson City man accused of killing a man he apparently believed to be his romantic rival.

Anthony Echols, 41, has been at the Carson City Jail since his arrest Aug. 5, 2000, as a suspect in the murder of Carson City contractor Richard Albrecht, 46.

The trial was delayed as prosecutors awaited a ruling from the Nevada Supreme Court on whether Echols could be charged with first-degree murder based on the felony murder rule.

Under the felony murder rule, he could be charged with first-degree murder because the prosecution alleges the shooting occurred during the commission of a burglary — described as entering a building to commit a felony, in this case, assault with a deadly weapon.

Judge William Maddox dismissed the first-degree charge on April 22, 2000, because of a similar outstanding appeal in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court reinstated the first-degree charge July 22, 2002.

According to the prosecution, Echols, angered over his arrest on violation of a protective order against his estranged wife Karen, went to the Firebox Road home of Albrecht, whom he saw as his romantic rival. Echols allegedly gunned down the unarmed man as he sat on his couch.

Within two hours of his release from jail on the violation, Echols was charged with Albrecht’s murder.

Albrecht was shot twice in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.

Reports indicate that Echols — nicknamed “Tony” — and his wife had had a tempestuous relationship for at least six months.

Echols had been ordered to stay away from her by the Carson City Justice Court after Karen Echols sought three temporary protective orders against him between December and March.

Echols’ first arrest Aug. 5, 2000 was on charges he drove within 100 feet of his wife’s home Friday night, violating a provision of the order.

He was booked at 3:09 p.m. Saturday and released within an hour.

Reports indicate that during his arrest on murder charges and subsequent interviews with deputies, Echols admitted to the shooting.

Echols was arrested at his home at 2179 Joanne Drive, a few blocks southeast of the shooting scene. When the shooting was reported, a deputy was immediately sent to Echols’ home.

He was searched and reportedly possessed five .22-caliber bullets, a .303-caliber bullet and a handwritten note that said “You pushed me too hard Karen, you won.”

Friends said Karen Echols and Albrecht had been involved in a relationship, but Albrecht’s family denies any romantic involvement between them.

Albrecht’s murder was the catalyst for his family to lobby the Legislature for a mandatory 12-hour cooling-off period following arrests on violation of protective orders. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Kenny Guinn in 2001.