Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 | 11:39 a.m.
A death penalty trial has been pushed back to Jan. 12, 2015, for an aging ex-convict arrested last July in Mississippi and returned to Las Vegas to face murder and sex assault charges in the slayings of three women in 1978 and 1994.
Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Smith agreed Wednesday to postpone the trial for Nathaniel Burkett after Deputy Special Public Defender Alzora Jackson sought more time to prepare. Trial had been set March 17.
Burkett faces charges, including three for murder and one felony sexual assault count, stemming from the April 1978 slaying of 22-year-old Barbara Ann Cox and the separate 1994 slayings of 27-year-old Tina Gayle Mitchell and 32-year-old Althea Maria Williams.
Authorities say each woman was strangled and left dead in a West Las Vegas neighborhood not far from where Burkett lived at the time. Police and prosecutors call Burkett a serial killer and say DNA evidence links him to the crimes.
Burkett is listed in jail records as 64, but authorities say he may be 67. He was arrested in July in Mississippi and returned in custody to Las Vegas from Picayune, Miss.
Police believe Burkett lived in the Las Vegas area as a teenager and off-and-on since the mid-1960s.
Records show that he served time in prison from 1983 to 1992 in Mississippi following a 1982 manslaughter conviction in the death of his mother, and from 2004 to 2009 in Nevada on a separate manslaughter conviction.
The second stint stemmed from the September 2002 strangulation of 41-year-old Valetter Jean Bousley in Las Vegas.
Court records show he used the name Nathan Burkett when he pleaded guilty before trial in that case.