Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 | 11:46 a.m.
A man police allege strangled three women and left their bodies outside Las Vegas apartment complexes in 1978 and 1994 pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning in Clark County District Court.
Nathan Burkett, 63, also waived his right to a speedy trial during an arraignment before Hearing Master Melisa De La Garza. Burkett's trial date in District Court will be set Jan. 7.
Burkett, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, has been charged with two counts of murder, one count of murder with a deadly weapon and one count of sexual assault, according to an amended criminal complaint.
Metro Police arrested Burkett in July after DNA evidence reportedly tied him to the deaths of Barbara Ann Cox, 22, and Tina Mitchell, 27.
Authorities believe Burkett also killed Althea Williams, 32, who was found strangled outside an apartment building May 14, 1994 — nearly three months after Mitchell’s body was found in the same spot.
Sixteen years earlier, on April 22, 1978, Cox’s body was found outside another apartment building about a mile away.
Special Public Defender David Schieck said he anticipated challenging the statute of limitations regarding the sexual assault charge. Schieck and fellow Special Public Defender Alzora Jackson are representing Burkett, who remains in the Clark County Detention Center without bail.
Mitchell’s parents, Henry and Diane Stamps, attended Burkett’s arraignment and vowed to be at his future hearings, too.
“Give me some closure before I die,” Diane Stamps, 63, said outside the courtroom. “Let it completely close.”