Rob and Nedra McKell were charged with various offenses related to their daughter, Summer McKell. Nedra McKell’s felony charges have all been dismissed in a plea deal that includes buying a two-year health insurance policy for her adopted, adult daughter, Summer McKell, and the stipulation that she not talk to the press about her husband’s upcoming trial or talk negatively to or about her daughter. If she plays nice for a period of one year, the remaining misdemeanor charge, violation of a protective order, to which she pleaded “no contest,” will be dismissed as well. This came just days after Nedra McKell fired her attorney, Mike Petro, for allegedly failing to adequately represent her and for borrowing a large sum of money from her husband while he was working on the McKells’ defense.
According to Rob McKell (who provided documented proof of the loan to the US~Observer), Petro had borrowed the money with the promise that he could make Nedra McKell’s charges all go away. He reportedly made the claim that he knew the prosecutor and that it shouldn’t be a problem to make the charges disappear. However, when Petro brought a “deal” to the table that would have meant Nedra McKell couldn’t testify effectively on Rob McKell’s behalf and that she would have been considered a felon, it was obvious he had to go. According to the McKells, Petro paid the loan back in full.
Is it a coincidence that the state made its second and acceptable plea in abeyance just days after Petro was fired? The second plea bargain was facilitated by new attorneys who had stepped in to represent Nedra McKell.
One thing is sure: Had the state really had such great evidence of crimes being committed by Nedra McKell, it wouldn’t have cut such an overwhelmingly pro-defense deal. Still, it smacks of being patently extortive, being that one of the requirements has to do with paying for the insurance. It doesn’t matter that she was going to be carrying health coverage on her daughter anyway. The state is just lucky that Nedra McKell had already opted to take a deal and not fight the obviously weak charges, for the sake of her family.
After receiving the previous offer from the state by Petro, Nedra McKell talked with individuals close to the US~Observer and made it clear that her intentions were to take a plea in abeyance if it meant that she could be an effective witness on behalf of her husband in his upcoming trial. Had she been considered a felon, her testimony would have been discredited. Nedra McKell also stated she wanted to do what was best for her family and thought that taking her charges to trial would put undue stress on everyone involved. Nedra McKell was especially fearful that her daughter, Summer McKell, would be forced to recall events that just never took place, all in an attempt to prosecute her and, ultimately, her husband Rob McKell. It’s something Nedra McKell feared would further harm her daughter’s psyche.
Rob McKell’s upcoming trial, featuring ‘no legitimate evidence’ of guilt
Nedra McKell’s fears aren’t unfounded. Rob McKell is facing an upcoming trial, charged with multiple counts of sexual misconduct with Summer McKell — something both Rob and Nedra McKell maintain never happened. During Rob McKell’s preliminary hearing, Whitnie Tate, the detective assigned to the case, admitted under oath that during an initial interview she had laid out ideas for Summer McKell as to the chronology of events, how many times things may have happened and even the finer details of those encounters. So, in essence, Summer McKell was led to recall events that were influenced by someone else. Furthermore, it’s been suggested that there was a plan by several of the children to get Rob McKell out of the home, because they thought he was “mean and controlling” and they wanted direct access to Nedra McKell’s wealth. This was covered extensively in the US~Observer article “‘$10-million and this goes away’ — Accuser’s ‘brother’ orchestrates false sex allegations?.”
According to a psychological assessment, Summer McKell needs to act out and she desperately wants attention — perhaps even going so far as reportedly sending nude pictures of herself to others on the Internet. It is something for which Summer McKell found herself in the center of an investigation. Utah County Deputy Jeff Wabel was involved in investigating her unwanted solicitations and was later called as a witness in Rob McKell’s preliminary hearing. Due to laws protecting the “victim,” he was not allowed to testify to the events that took place in that previous case. But he was allowed to state his opinion on whether or not Summer McKell was capable of lying, saying, “At the time I interviewed her… I didn’t feel she was completely truthful.”
Also during the preliminary hearing, even Tate claimed that Summer McKell told her that she wasn’t always truthful. And then again in more court proceedings, it came to light that Summer McKell admits to not always telling the truth. Yet here we have a case where the word of this one person can literally seal another’s fate, and the jury will most likely never be allowed to hear an accurate portrayal of a young woman who obfuscates the truth in order to get what she wants.
And it could just be that she wanted to mirror her sister Cheyenne McKell’s stated wants on the day she made the accusations. While they were all about to leave for a trip, Cheyenne McKell had suggested a way to call the police and get Rob McKell out of the house by claiming he was a felon in possession of firearms (according to criminal records, Rob McKell has never been a felon). It was then when Summer McKell spoke up and, from witness statements, said that she knew something that would get him in trouble. The next stop was the sheriff’s department where the accusations were formalized. One has to wonder about the integrity of the “witness” statements, as they were allowed to write their statements while sitting in their car together. A logical assumption can be had that they all discussed what to say, but that would be mere speculation. I would hope that Brooke McKell (who was present during this apparent conspiracy), Nedra McKell’s biological son, would come forward and tell the truth about this and make things right.
You can bet that Utah County Attorney Jeff R. Buhman doesn’t want the jury to hear about Cheyenne McKell conspiring. Nor does he want the jury to ever hear how troubled Summer McKell is and has been (long before the abuse was alleged to have occurred): that without “controlling” (caring) parents or guardians, she allegedly gets into drugs and sex and reportedly winds up hospitalized after overdosing and being found naked, as was recently told to the US~Observer.
While Buhman isn’t prosecuting the case himself, he is the elected official who signs off on all the prosecutions moving forward. This is one case of “he said she said” that should be causing him a little heartburn, as more statements of the alleged victim saying nothing ever happened are coming to light. You can rest assured that Buhman will want these witnesses barred from testifying, too.
We’d like to thank the responsible members within the Utah County Bureaucracy who have stepped forward with information on this case. True victims’ advocacy might not be about blindly believing the accusations of one person against another, but rather letting fact and material evidence determine who is and isn’t a victim; we thank you for recognizing that and knowing that justice can and will be had.
As the trial approaches, it has been reported that Rob McKell has fired his attorney Ron Yengich for ineffective assistance of counsel — as Yengich’s concerns have been for his own well-being, since he is purportedly fighting cancer, and not for the case of his client — and it is expected and highly likely that the trial will be pushed back yet again.
People close to the McKell family are shocked that these charges have gone as far as they have, as there is no physical evidence of, or admission to, any wrongdoing on the part of Rob McKell.
A long-time family friend even said, “I know that Summer has a problem telling the truth. I know that she can be manipulated. I also know that if I thought for one second that Rob had molested her sexually, I would have called the police myself.” This potential witness had a personal relationship with Summer McKell that pre-dates Rob McKell’s marriage to Nedra McKell. As a trusted friend, she had a conversation with Summer McKell about her problems during the time the alleged abuse was occurring. The friend maintains that she “asked her point blank if Rob had ever, ever been inappropriate with her. She adamantly said no.”
The US~Observer investigates each case on the evidence. From what we have found, Buhman has no proof of Rob McKell’s guilt other than the word of the alleged victim, who is on the record admitting that she lies and who has reportedly denied her own allegations. It’s a little unsettling to think that one person would be allowed to pursue the incarceration of another on such baseless grounds. But then again, any way the government can get its man, it usually tries to do it, especially when the officials are being pressured by overtly biased victim’s advocates.
Still, we here at the US~Observer hold out hope that Buhman just might grow a conscience, do what is right and just, and instruct his assistants to drop this case.
Note: Jeff Buhman has to understand by now that his office is conducting a false prosecution. The fine people of Utah County should contact his office immediately and demand that “witch hunts” not be tolerated and that to incarcerate someone for a crime should be dependent upon physical and or conclusive evidence, not off of one person’s say-so. He may be reached at 801-851-8026. It will be interesting to see if Buhman is indeed interested in a just outcome, or if he is the same as most other prosecuting attorneys, whose interest is a conviction, at all cost — blind to true justice.