43°F
weather icon Clear

Esmeralda murder suspect takes plea deal

A suspect in the July 2013 murder of a Silver Peak man has reportedly taken a plea deal in the case and will be sentenced on a single charge of second degree murder next month.

Jason Taaffe, 34, was originally charged with first degree murder in the death of Charles H. Kinkel III, after admitting to police in December that he had shot the man after he said he allegedly witnessed Kinkel attempting to molest a 10-year-old girl.

The charge was reduced to one count of second degree murder in exchange for the suspect’s guilty plea.

Co-defendant Coleman Ward, 42, has reportedly not accepted any kind of deal from the DA’s office at this time.

Kinkel was first reported missing on July 24, 2013 after his wife attempted to call him several times unsuccessfully to wake him up for work that morning.

When she received no answer, she called his boss at the mining company he had just started with, who said Kinkel hadn’t shown up for work that day.

The distraught wife then called police, who subsequently found Kinkel’s silver 2010 Toyota Matrix near the junction of U. S. Hwy. 95 and State Route 265 on July 25, 2013.

More than four months later, Kinkel’s body was discovered at the bottom of a well, a gunshot wound in his head on Dec. 15, 2013 by two people collecting firewood near Silver Peak.

Taaffe and Ward were arrested five days later.

According to the police report, Taaffe and Coleman conspired to “take Charles hunting” as revenge for what he’d allegedly tried to do.

“Jason said he took a pistol and 7.62 Mosin Nagant rifle with Coleman and Charles in Coleman’s pickup and went into the hills south of Silver Peak to a place he was unfamiliar with that had three old buildings and a covered well,” the police report states. “Jason told me (the investigator) that he walked around for a couple of hours with Coleman urging him to just do it until Jason shot Charlie in the head.”

Before dumping Kinkel’s body in the well, Taaffe told police he took the victim’s wallet and car keys. After returning to Silver Peak, Ward allegedly drove Kinkel’s car to Blair Junction. Taaffe followed and picked up Ward, returning to Silver Peak afterward. Taaffe, according to the arrest report, told police he threw Kinkel’s car keys and wallet into the desert near a construction yard and went home.

Police were able to recover the suspected murder weapon at Taaffe’s residence. After writing out a confession, Taaffe was placed under arrest and transferred to the Tonopah jail.

Ward, however, denied having anything to do with Kinkel’s death when interviewed by police. He told deputies that Kinkel was alive the last time he saw him.

As of Thursday afternoon, both men were still listed in custody in Esmeralda County.

Taaffe is scheduled to appear in court on July 16 for sentencing.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Nye County approves jail bond refi

With interest rates in America so low and Nye County finally free from a bond clause that prevented it from doing so, earlier this year the county began the process necessary to refinance the bond that had been taken out to fund the construction of the Nye County Detention Center in Pahrump.

Serenity Health issues apology to Pahrump community

After nearly eight full months of providing COVID-19 testing to the local community without any reported problems, officials with Serenity Health have issued a formal apology to the community following a vexing night in which the health care provider ran out of testing materials and area residents who had been waiting in line were told they would not be able to receive a test that evening.

A more thankful, less stressful holiday

In a year that’s already proven “interesting,” Thanksgiving will be no exception. Lots of folks are hosting smaller gatherings, meaning fewer people to bring dishes or help in the kitchen. Some may be making their very first Thanksgiving dinner. To assist in making this a low-stress, enjoyable holiday for all, I offer a few tips.

$500k in chip sealing set for Pahrump roadways

In August of this year, Nye County commissioners gave the green light to resurrect the county’s long-dormant chip sealing program and with approval of a list of selected roads granted and the construction contract officially awarded, the 2020 Chip Seal Program is now ready to roll.

Local man facing child sex charges

A Pahrump man was arrested this month over allegations surrounding child pornography.

Pahrump Gunfighters forced to cancel show

For many years the Pahrump Gunfighters have entertained and thrilled the local community with their Old West shows and skits at Dusty Flats on West Stagecoach Road.

Kellogg Park concrete contract awarded

What once was bare land covered in nothing more than sparse desert vegetation is slowly but surely giving way to what will one day be the town of Pahrump’s fifth park, Kellogg Park.

Walmart more than doubles number of personal shoppers

Saying that more than ever the company knows how important it will be for customers to use time-saving services such as pickup and delivery, Walmart has more than doubled the number of personal shoppers versus last year.

Nevada flu vaccination data dashboard launched

Nevada’s influenza vaccination data dashboard is now live providing weekly updates of information from Nevada WebIZ, Nevada’s Immunization Information System. This new tool will help Nevada’s fight against influenza, a critical step in the fight against COVID-19.

BLM postpones wild horse gather at Fish Creek HMA

The Bureau of Land Management Mount Lewis Field Office is postponing the 2020 Fish Creek wild horse gather to later this year or early 2021 because of operational concerns with COVID-19 related to this particular gather.