Utah’s ‘Clearfield Rapist’ avoids death penalty, gets life in prison for Wyoming murder

EVANSTON, Wyo. (KSTU) — Mark Douglas Burns has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2001 murder of Sue Ellen Gunderson Higgins in Evanston, Wyoming.
The ruling dashed Burns’ hopes of receiving the death penalty. Judge Joseph Bluemel agreed with prosecutors that a death sentence would not be an appropriate punishment for the crime.
Earlier this year, Burns was arrested in Ogden, Utah and identified as a serial rape cold case suspect known as the “Clearfield Rapist.” The Clearfield Rapist was wanted for 11 sexual assaults between 1991 and 2001. The known victims ranged in age from 11 years old to 52 years old.
Burns was also ordered to pay $7,200 of restitution to Higgins’ family for the cost of the funeral and carpet replacement in the home.