ELKO - Turnabout is fair play as mercy was not in the cards Monday when District Judge Mike Memeo sentenced murderer Winston Bruce Kelly to an additional 35 years in prison. This is on top of the life without possibility of parole term handed down by the jury that convicted him June 12 in the brutal killing of Peter Carl Braun.
Braun was stabbed and beaten to death near Midas and his body dumped near Owyhee after he picked up the stranded Kelly in Battle Mountain on April 9, 2007.
Kelly was arrested the next morning on drunken driving charges in Mountain Home, Idaho, while passed out inside Braun's truck. He told police he killed the Reno area man and where his body could be found.
According to trial testimony, Kelly killed Braun - who visited family in the Elko area in the days before he died - so he could take the motor out of the victim's truck and install it in his own.
Because the jury determined Kelly used a deadly weapon in Braun's death, Memeo invoked Nevada's enhancement statutes, which call for mandatory additional sentencing in any crime in which such a weapon is used.
In Kelly's case, the judge sentenced the Winnemucca man to an additional eight to 20 years on the murder charge. Memeo sentenced Kelly to 15 years on the robbery conviction.
Deputy Public Defender Alina Kilpatrick urged the judge to consider the murder and robbery as a single act, and to invoke the enhancement statute only on the robbery. She argued the jury did not have to agree whether Kelly acted with premeditation in order to convict him of first-degree murder.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Torvinen argued the enhancement was necessary and Memeo agreed.
The two men also agreed it would be a bad idea to allow Kelly to attend his mother's funeral Thursday. She died Sunday night and Kilpatrick asked the judge to let him attend services.
Neither Memeo nor Torvinen were willing to accommodate the request. The funeral would occur on the Duck Valley reservation, where the Elko County Sheriff's Office has no jurisdiction.
Kilpatrick pleaded with Memeo to let her speak with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal police to work out logistics, but Memeo twice asked, “What are they going to do? Surround him with a small SWAT team?”
“He's been convicted of first-degree murder,” said Torvinen. “He has nothing to lose.”
Kilpatrick said she was unsure of Kelly's mother's cause of death.
Memeo granted the man credit for 482 days served in the Elko County jail.