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NEWS FROM: Nevada Division of Investigation 99-108

Woman Murder Suspect Found Guilty in Humbolt County
10-month investigation produces evidence for conviction

A joint investigation by the Nevada Division of Investigation (NDI) and Humbolt County Sheriff's Office of the murder of Winnemucca resident Curtis Moss has resulted in a guilty verdict. 33-year-old Elizabeth Powell of Elko was found guilty Tuesday, March 2 by a Humbolt County jury of first degree murder and first degree kidnaping. She faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Elizabeth Powell shot 36-year-old Curtis Moss on May 16, 1998 in a remote desert location north of Winnemucca over monies he owed her for drugs. Winnemucca resident Robert Burkman, an accomplis and witness to the crime, agreed to exchange his testimony implicating Powell in the murder for a lesser sentence. NDI investigators were led to Moss' body by a jailhouse interview with Burkman.

As a result of a previous NDI murder investigation, Burkman and Powell were arrested May 18, 1998 for the alleged murder of 34-year-old Linda Westphal at a Grass Valley Road residence in Pershing County. Burkman's exchange of testimony for a lesser sentence also occurred in the Westphal murder investigation. He pleaded guilty to attempted second degree murder in the Moss case and accessory to murder in the Westphal case and was sentenced to 10-18 years in prison. NDI investigators will testify in the Westphal murder trial against Elizabeth Powell that is set to open in Pershing County on March 22, 1999.

The Nevada Division of Investigation, a Division of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety, assists local law enforcement jurisdictions in criminal investigations.