Retrial postponed for man convicted of murder at age 15

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Peter Elvik will now have to wait a few additional months before facing a second trial for a 1995 murder.

Elvik's retrial has been continued from the previously announced date of January 14, 2020 to May 5, 2020.

In 1996, Elvik stood trial for the fatal shooting of 63-year-old William Gibson. He had walked from his grandparents' home south of town to the Carson City shooting range, where it is alleged he shot Gibson four times with a shotgun, at least once in the back and pausing apparently to reload his three-shot weapon.

He was a few days short of his 15th birthday at the time, a detail which would prove critical years later when a federal judge ruled the trial judge erred in not telling the jury the prosecution was required to prove by clear evidence some one under 15 knew the "wrongfulness" of his actions.

An appeal eventually failed, putting the case back before the Carson City District Attorney's office, which has now decided to retry the case, even though Elvik has served more than 20 years already and was released on parole in 2016.

It will not be easy reconstructing a 24-year-old case and the most difficult challenge may be that detail on which this case has turned: What, as an adolescent, Peter Elvik was capable of understanding.

But Woodbury says there has been a good deal of research done on the development of the young mind in recent years. There are expert witnesses he can call upon.

If Elvik is convicted, Woodbury expects the time already served would be factored into whatever punishment was rendered.

The important issue, he says, is public safety, and the key is restoring Elvik's convicted felon status and its lifelong safeguards.

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