Utah man pleads guilty to 17 felonies including sex assault

FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) — An Ogden man accused of several rapes in Utah and Wyoming has pleaded guilty to all 17 charges levied against him, including aggravated sex assault, kidnapping and burglary.

Mark Douglas Burns, 69, pleaded guilty Thursday during a hearing that was originally scheduled to debate a motion by the defense to dismiss multiple charges, the Standard-Examiner reported.

Burns' attorney Colleen Coeburgh told the court that she intends to withdraw the motion to dismiss the charges.

“We made no plea offers in the course of this case,” said Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings. “Our position was he has to plead guilty as charged to everything that we filed, we felt like we could prove every count.”

Burns, who was dubbed the “Clearfield Rapist,” was arrested in September after authorities linked him to multiple cases in Utah and Wyoming through familial DNA.

“It was satisfying in a way that he would at least plead guilty now, take accountability and responsibility for what he did to people in the past because he could have dragged this out for years,” said Lynnette Griffith, a retired detective with the Rock Springs Police Department in Wyoming.

Griffith was the main investigator for a rape case in June of 1991 that ultimately went cold.

Burns indicated he would like to be sentenced at a later date, and Rawlings agreed citing that victims would have the opportunity to be in court and share their testimonies.

Burns is being held in the Davis County Jail. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 6.