CALDWELL - A Nampa man involved in a robbery ring that led to a man being kicked to death in a remote area near Lake Lowell last April was sentenced Monday.
Kevin Robert Tracy, 21, was ordered to serve 547 days in jail and ten years of probation for his role in the events that led to the murder of 49-year-old Steven Nelson of Nampa. He'll have to spend at least a decade behind bars before he can become eligible for parole.
Tracy pleaded guilty in February to aiding and abetting felony robbery in exchange for the state dropping additional charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Investigators say Tracy and co-defendants Kelly Schneider, Jayson Woods and Daniel Henkel put up fake ads on escort sites like Backpage.com, then robbed the victims who showed up for a sexual rendezvous.
In April, police say the group targeted Nelson, who drove out to the Gotts Point area of Lake Lowell, believing Schneider would meet him there for sex. Instead, Schneider and the other men took his wallet and car keys and forced him to strip naked, prosecutors say.
Schneider badly beat the other man, kicking him repeatedly with steel-toed boots before taking his car and leaving him at the lake. The bloodied Nelson made it to a nearby house for help and was able to describe his attackers to detectives before going into cardiac arrest and dying later that day.
Tracy sat with his head bowed for most of the hearing. Through tears, he told Nelson's parents and siblings he was sorry for what he had done.
"I just want to say to the family, I'm truly sorry. I really mean it. What happened to your son should have never happened," he said. "I know it's hard on you, it's really hard, to sit here and see somebody that was involved in your son's murder."
Schneider, 23, was sentenced last week to 28 years (336 months) in federal prison for a hate crime charge of willful assault based on sexual orientation.
That sentence will run concurrent with a life sentence for first-degree murder; Schneider will spend at least 28 years behind bars before he's eligible for parole.
Jayson Woods - the 29-year-old who prosecutors called the "mastermind" behind the robbery - was sentenced April 11 to life in prison, with at least 28 years before he can seek parole.
Henkel's sentencing was scheduled for Monday but was continued to next week.