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Police say DNA led them to potential serial killer

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Updated: 8/07/2012 6:40 pm
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Las Vegas police say DNA evidence led them to a potential serial killer suspected in the deaths of at least two women in the past four decades.

Authorities said Tuesday that 62-year-old Nathan Burkett was taken into custody in Mississippi and transferred to Las Vegas. He's suspected of murdering 22-year-old Barbara Ann Cox in April 1978, and 27-year-old Tina Mitchell in February 1994, both in Las Vegas.

Police say there may be more victims.

Las Vegas Homicide Lt. Ray Steiber described Burkett as "an animal," saying he attacked his victims in a rage. Both women were strangled and their bodies were dumped.

Burkett is from Picayune, Miss., and has an extensive arrest record. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the strangulation death of 41-year-old Valetter Jean Bousley in 2002.




He is also charged with the Feb. 20, 1994. slaying of Tina Gayle Mitchell, 27, of Las Vegas. Mitchell’s body was located behind an apartment complex at 902 H Street, approximately one-half mile away from where Cox’s body was found. The Clark County coroner also ruled the cause of Mitchell’s death as strangulation.

Recently returned DNA evidence identified Burkett as the suspect in both crimes.

Burkett’s local criminal history includes arrests for:
-- Murder and first degree kidnap; October 2003.
-- Battery domestic violence with no prior conviction; December 2002.
-- Contempt of court and battery domestic violence, three counts; July 2000.
-- Ex-felon failure to change address; March 1998 and August 1997.
-- Sexual Assault; July 1996.
-- Battery; January 1994.
-- Disorderly conduct; March 1979.
-- Battery with a deadly weapon; February 1979.
-- Battery, kidnap and rape; August 1978.
-- Robbery; June 1978.
-- Protective custody – drunk in public; September 1977.
-- Drunk in public; December 1976.
-- Trespassing; July 1976.
-- Disorderly conduct in both August and September 1975.

Burkett’s October 2003 arrest for murder and first-degree kidnapping stemmed from the Sept. 4, 2002, homicide of Valetter Jean Bousley, 41, of Las Vegas.

Bousley was found strangled in an alcove adjacent to 1312 F Street, approximately one-quarter of a mile from where Mitchell’s body was discovered in 1994. Burkett was ultimately convicted of voluntary manslaughter for this crime, and served approximately 72 months of a 115-month sentence.

There are approximately 1,015 unsolved homicides housed in the LVMPD cold case files. Several of these cases have been identified as potentially being committed by Burkett. The re-examination of the LVMPD cold case files which led to Burkett’s arrest was made possible in part by a $499,695 Department of Justice DNA grant, awarded to LVMPD in September 2009.

The investigation into these cases remains ongoing. Anyone with any information concerning these cases or any LVMPD cold case, or any information concerning Nathan Burkett, is urged to contact the LVMPD Homicide Section at 828-3521 or Crime Stoppers by phone at 385-5555 or on the internet at www.crimestoppersofnv.com.

-- From news release
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