Families Face Accused Serial Killer in Court - 8 News NOW

Families Face Accused Serial Killer in Court

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Nathaniel Burkett, 62, is facing three charges of murder in the deaths of three women in 1978 and 1994. Nathaniel Burkett, 62, is facing three charges of murder in the deaths of three women in 1978 and 1994.
Barbara Cox was found killed in 1978. Barbara Cox was found killed in 1978.
Tina Gayle Mitchell was found dead in 1994. Tina Gayle Mitchell was found dead in 1994.

LAS VEGAS -- An accused serial killer linked to a string of cold case murders faced the families of his alleged victims in court Friday.

Nathaniel Burkett has been tied to three deaths, all women, dating as far back as 1978. He is facing three murder charges and a sexual assault charge.

This was the first time families of the three women were able to hear all the evidence in separate cases and look at the man accused of brutally killing their loved ones.

The three families were together in court having to hear again about the horrific murders of their loved ones: Barbara Cox, Tina Gayle Mitchell and Althea Williams Grier.

All three were strangled to death in Las Vegas and for decades their cases had gone cold.

But, recently, Metro Police detectives were able to tie the crimes to Nathaniel Burkett through a grant that funds the testing of backlogged DNA.

Claude Cox's sister Barbara was raped and killed in 1978 near Bonanza Road and D Street.

"It doesn't give you closure because you are always going to think about that," Cox said. "But it gives you perspective and it kind of lifts your heart that now that they found the person did this."

The DNA evidence also linked Burkett to the killings of Mitchell and Grier, who were killed 16 years after Cox was found strangled to death.

In 1994 the women were found killed only blocks away from where Barbara Cox's body was found.

A Metro detective described the 1994 murders of Mitchell and Grier as being nearly identical to each other.

Burkett, 62, sat in the courtroom with little emotion showing on his face.

In July, Burkett was tracked down in Biloxi, Miss., where he was arrested, and then extradited to Las Vegas, where the families wait for justice.

"Death sentence, carry out the death sentence," Claude Cox said. "If he's found guilty, then he needs the death sentence."

The second portion of the preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday, when the judge is expected to hear from a DNA expert.

From there, the judge will decide if there is sufficient evidence to go to trial.

Burkett has already served six years in a Nevada prison for an unrelated manslaughter conviction and was released in 2009.

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