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A Utah man, who has confessed to a series of horrific rapes, will spend the rest of his life in prison for attacks he committed between 2000 and 2001.
Mark Douglas Burns, 69, was arrested in October 2019 after a genealogical DNA match. The team from “Cold Justice” spin-off “Cold Justice: Sex Crimes” joined a multi-jurisdictional task force to help with the investigation in 2015.
Burns expressed remorse in a Farmington courtroom Monday as a judge sentenced him to consecutive prison sentences on 17 felony charges equaling 242 years, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.
“When I look back at the things that I had done, it makes me sick to my stomach,” Burns told the court.
The charges, which Burns pleaded guilty to in February, were tied to 2000 and 2001 attacks, the outlet reported. However, Burns also confessed to a number of other vicious attacks dating back to 1991, according to Salt Lake City Fox 13.
In a 2001 Clearfield, Utah, attack, Burns came into a woman’s bedroom while her family was home. Wielding a gun, he tied up her husband, brother and 19-year-old daughter in the bedroom, then repeatedly assaulted the woman and daughter in front of the rest of the family, Deseret News reported.
A number of Burns' survivors were in the courtroom at sentencing, including a girl named Nicole, who was allegedly attacked by Burns at age 11 in 1992, according to the Deseret News.
In a letter read by prosecutors, Nicole said, “There was so much pain, I didn't think my small body could handle it,” according to the Tribune.
Burns typically attacked women by invading their homes, former prosecutor Casey Garrett, of “Cold Justice: Sex Crimes,” told Oxygen.com last year. Burns abducted Nicole, however.
On the 2015 episode, police interview footage shows her describing her rapist trying to keep her quiet when her stepfather entered a nearby room in her house.
“He put a knife up to my neck and told me not to make a sound,” Nicole said on the episode.
Burns then took Nicole from her home, drove her elsewhere, raped her and returned her to her home.
“He got spooked” by the girl’s stepfather entering the picture when he was preparing to rape her, according to Garrett.
“I felt like I was very lucky he brought me home and didn’t kill me,” Nicole told police.
Although the statute of limitations on her attack had passed, Burns did confess to the other attacks. Nicole told the Deseret News that she felt relief for herself and Burns' other survivors after his sentencing.
“None of us survivors have to look over our shoulder to wonder where he is. What is he doing? Is he behind me at the grocery store?” she said. “He's never going to haunt us again, and that is a wonderful feeling. … I just cannot believe how lucky he's been. And I think it's about time his luck ran out.”
Burns is linked by DNA evidence to other sexual assaults in Wyoming, and he is also the suspect in a cold-case murder, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Garrett said she was grateful to survivors, who spoke with “Cold Justice: Sex Crimes” and helped the task force in 2015. She also credited the foresight and dedication of local authorities in keeping the two-state investigation alive for nearly 30 years, despite a number of apparent dead ends.
“The detectives — I almost start crying when I talk about it — they never gave up on this,” she told Oxygen.com last year. “They never shelved this case.”
A new season of "Cold Justice" is currently underway, with five arrests made. Watch full episodes here and tune in Saturdays at 6/5c on Oxygen.
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