Preliminary set in Utah kidnapping |

Preliminary set in Utah kidnapping

F.T. Norton
Photo by Cathleen AllisonDr. Richard Conte, seated, appeared in East Fork Justice Court on Wednesday afternoon with his attorney William Cole. Conte's preliminary hearing date was set for Aug. 22.

A preliminary hearing was set for a Carson City emergency room physician who is accused of kidnapping his ex-wife from Utah.

Dr. Richard Conte will appear in a hearing Aug. 22 to determine if there is enough evidence to try him in the abduction of his former wife Lark Gathright-Elliott.

Investigators said Conte ambushed Gathright-Elliott at her Salt Lake City home. He admitted drugging her with a sedative, handcuffing and chaining her in the back of his pickup truck and driving her to his Clear Creek Road home, court documents allege.

Conte was represented in Wednesday’s hearing by William Cole.

Cole asked the court for a one-week continuance because he had just been retained by Conte on Monday.

Attorneys for both sides will meet again in a hearing designed to hash out pleas Wednesday.

Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Mark Jackson said he plans to call four witnesses in the state’s preliminary case and the testimony should take only two to two and a half hours.

Conte is being held on a $1 million cash only bail.

He was arrested June 22 at his home in Clear Creek Canyon near the Douglas County-Carson City line accused of kidnapping Gathright-Elliott.

Members of the victim’s family called authorities, saying Conte had threatened to kill Elliott and himself, according to court records.

Investigators said a woman Conte had called to care for his dogs arrived at Conte’s home, saw Elliott and led her out of the house as sheriff’s deputies were arriving. Conte surrendered without incident a short time later, authorities said.

Elliott’s previous husband, Carter Elliott, 49, and Timothy Robertson, 26, were found shot to death May 19 at Carter Elliott’s upscale home in Conway, Ark., a city of about 40,000 located 30 miles north of Little Rock.

Both men were shot in the head, authorities said.

Conway and Arkansas State Police arrived in Nevada to try to determine if the two cases are related. It is unknown whether Conte remains a suspect in the Arkansas murders.