The Justice Files: Alleged serial rapist charged with murder

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EVANSTON, Wyo. (ABC4 Utah) – Mark Burns is now facing murder charges.

The Uinta County attorney Tuesday filed the charges against Burns for a 2001 cold case murder. In addition, Burns was charged with attempted aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and theft.

Burns whom police call the “Clearfield rapist” is currently in the Davis County jail. In December, he was charged with numerous charges of sexual assault covering a two-decade time period.

Late last month Burns allegedly confessed to the sexual assault crimes and then surprised law enforcement when he claimed he murdered Sue Higgins.

The 28-year-old woman was found dead in her home on Hillside Drive in Evanston in July 2001.

“They were trying to say it was a suicide but there was no gun,” said Pat Hansen.

Police never found the gun but declared it murder after the autopsy revealed two gunshot wounds to the head.

News accounts from 2001 stated Higgins was found lying in a pool of blood by her husband Sean Higgins. He called 911.

“We had no idea who had done it and how it could have happened in the middle of the day,” said Janet who did not want full name revealed.

Higgins’ murder remained unsolved until 2005 when her own husband was charged with the murder.

“Everyone in town just knew it was the husband,” recalled Hansen. “So there was no other talk. How could it be anyone else?”

But three years later the charges were dropped.

“We had heard through the grapevine … that something was amiss with the evidence,” said Janet.

Hansen said the dismissal caught everyone by surprise.

“It’s like who else could it have been?” she said.

Nearly a dozen years later, authorities in Evanston had an answer. They now suspect it was Burns who shot Higgins. Her husband was never involved with the crime.

“I’m sure his life is completely devastated by the whole thing,” Hansen said. “His wife dying and I am sure their child is completely devastated.”

But Burns won’t be transported to Evanston in the near future.

Prosecutors in Uinta and Davis county have agreed that the rapes cases will be tried first.

MORE OF THE JUSTICE FILES:

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