Not guilty plea entered in skull theft

A Stagecoach-woman accused of buying a skull stolen from the crypt of a prominent 19th Century Carson City lawyer pleaded innocent in district court Monday.

Nanette Birdsell, 36, faces charges of grave robbery punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Her trial is scheduled for February of next year.

Officials believe Birdsell bought the skull from David Shaughnessy and his then-girlfriend Janice Hershey after they allegedly stole it from the crypt on Nevada Day in 1997.

Hershey, 33, maintains her innocence and is scheduled for trial in March.

Shaughnessy, 38, admitted to prying open the crypt of Patrick and Susan Clayton and, with Hershey as his suspected accomplice, taking the skulls and selling the skull of Susan Clayton to Birdsell for $400 and an equivalent amount of methamphetamine.

He received five years probation for prying open the crypt.


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