Public Information Office

Contact: Kim Evans
555 Wright Way
Carson City, Nevada 89711
Office: (775) 684-4554
Pager: (775) 684-4692

NEWS FROM: Nevada Division of Investigation 99-111


Convicted Woman Murderer Pleads Guilty

to Second Murder in Pershing County

An investigation by the Nevada Division of Investigation (NDI) of the murder of 34-year old Pershing county resident Linda Westphal has resulted in a guilty plea from 33-year old Elizabeth Powell of Elko. Powell entered her guilty plea this morning to second degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon. She faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole when a minimum of 20 years have been served.

Elizabeth Powell was also found guilty on March 2 by a Humbolt County jury of first degree murder and first degree kidnaping in the shooting death of 36-year old Curtis Moss. She killed 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. NDI assisted Humbolt County Sheriff's Office in the investigation.

Burkman and Powell were arrested May 18, 1998 for the 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.

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