Metro posted a YouTube video following Burkett's arrest (LVMPD)
Public Defender Alzora Jackson argues for media restrictions in court Thursday
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
While Nathan Burkett stands accused of strangling two women decades ago, his attorney is not happy with police calling her client "an animal."
It's the comment that set off public defender Alzora Jackson Thursday morning. As her client, 65-year-old Nathan Burkett, sat shackled in a wheel chair, she went on the offensive.
"My client is being vilified - being called an animal - a rabid dog," Jackson told the judge.
Burkett was locked up in Las Vegas last week after DNA linked him to the strangulation deaths of Barbara Cox in 1978 and Tina Mitchell in 1994.
"He would pick his victims, and it appears through a fit of rage, he would act on these victims ultimately to their demise," said Metro Lt. Ray Steiber on the YouTube video in question.
Metro said the 2 1/2-minute clip was meant to inform department employees and the public about what the homicide section accomplished.
"We become emotionally invested in working these cases, and we become emotionally invested in the outcome of these cases," said Metro Sgt. John Sheahan.
Sheahan told FOX5 the video, which had more than 2,000 hits, was taken down because it served its purpose. Jackson filed a motion with the Justice of the Peace Eric Goodman to restrict media access, in part because those quotes were later published and broadcast.
"I have to have the ability at some point to give Mr. Burkett a fair trial," Jackson argued. "If this continues, where are we going to get a fair and impartial jury?"
The judge asked for Metro and media outlets to respond to the motion. Sheahan, meanwhile, said investigators won't sugarcoat their thoughts.
"It does tend to show the community that we do care," he said. "And in the case of Lt. Steiber, you can tell how passionate he is to bringing these people to justice by the type of words he uses in his videos."
Goodman said he will rule on the request to limit media access on Friday but noted: "I am not inclined to limit the press in any way whatsoever in this case or any other case. That's just not what we do in this country."
Jackson's office declined any further comment to FOX5 regarding the remarks.
Burkett was previously convicted of strangling a woman in 2002. In that case, he served seven years in prison. For the current accusations, Burkett is being held at the Clark County Detention Center without bail.
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