A 66-year-old Nevada man who was convicted of a double murder in Faulkner County is asking for more time to file a bench brief for an appeal.
Richard Ralph Conte, 66, of Carson City, Nevada, was convicted of a double murder in Faulkner County Circuit Court following a four-day jury trial on Jan. 18, 2013 — 11 years after Carter Elliot, 49, and Timothy Wayne Robertson, 25, were found shot to death.
Defense Attorney Patrick Benca filed a Rule 37 request in August 2015. Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Clawson Jr. said earlier this month he would make a decision on Conte’s request for a new trial by the end of October. Clawson also told the defense to file a bench brief by Wednesday.
Benca filed a motion asking for a 10-day extension on Tuesday, noting the defense did not receive court transcripts until Tuesday.
The extension would give Benca until Oct. 3 to file a brief.
Conte, who was an emergency room doctor in Nevada, was serving his ninth year of a 15-year sentence in a correctional facility for drugging, kidnapping and holding his ex-wife hostage before being extradited to Arkansas in connection to the 2002 slayings of Elliot and Robertson.
Conte had been married to Lark Swartz for a couple of months when she left him. The couple lived separately. Conte lived at his cabin in Douglas County, Nevada, and Swartz remained at her home in Duck Creek, Utah, under the belief Conte held a second job and traveled oversees as a special operations mercenary for the U.S. government.
Swartz was married to Elliot for 18 years before meeting Conte. She and Elliot had two children together.
Swartz was kidnapped about a month after Elliot and Robertson were murdered in Elliot’s home. She was found two days later at Conte’s cabin.
Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland gave the OK to charge Conte in the double murder two days before Conte’s scheduled release in 2011.
A jury deliberated for 35 minutes before convicting Conte in Janauary 2013, handing him two life sentences without parole set to run consecutively. Each charge had a 15-year firearm enhancement sentence attached to it.
(Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)