Local nurse arrested for Reno murder

Left: Edward Halverson, 60, in a Las Vegas court room for beating his wife with a frying pan (courtesy photo by Las Vegas Review-Journal). Right: Mark Regan Burkett (courtesy photo of Washoe County Jail).

PAGE – In a bizarre case, Mark Regan Burkett, 64, was arrested at his home in Big Water, Utah, July 2 on a fugitive warrant and extradited to Nevada. Records show he was booked into Washoe County Jail without bail July 22.

Burkett is charged with open murder, a catch-all term used in Nevada that allows the court to determine the degree.

On April 2, 60-year-old Edward Halverson’s body was found in front of a home in Reno. According to court records and Nevada media sources, Halverson had a long history of crime in multiple states. He was arrested in Texas for possession of cocaine; served prison sentences in Colorado for burglary and in Nevada for beating his wife with a frying pan. His past is checkered with run-ins with the law, with charges ranging from car theft to attempted murder.

Burkett is a registered nurse at Page Banner Hospital. In contrast to Halverson’s criminal record, Burkett has a history of helping people. He was a trainer and worked with staff and outpatient education. People who know him said they were shocked and say he’s a valuable member of the community, good at his job, and they hope this gets cleared up soon.

The details of the case are vague. All that’s known outside the legal system is a deadly weapon was used. One Reno news report claims police told them the two knew each other. The circumstance surrounding the death are still a mystery. Washoe County jail records show Burkett is scheduled for a preliminary examination at Reno Justice Court on August 2.

Initial media reports from Nevada were inconsistent and some inaccurate. They generally gave more attention to Halverson’s late wife, Elizabeth Halverson, a former judge he beat with a frying pan. She needed over 100 medical staples. Elizabeth Halverson gained national media attention when she was dismissed from the bench for odd behaviors, including falling asleep in court, improperly meeting with jurors, letting her personal bodyguards bypass courthouse security, and getting foot rubs from bailiffs.

If the Reno judge finds probable cause August 2, Burkett’s case will likely be moved to Second Judicial District Court to decide Burkett’s fate.