Affidavit in murders to remain sealed
The details of what led police to connect a Longmont man to the 1975 murders of a Grand Junction mother and daughter will continue to remain unknown to the public — for the time being.
Mesa County District Judge Brian Flynn on Wednesday ordered that an affidavit in support of the arrest of 64-year-old Jerry Nemnich remain sealed. He also granted District Attorney Pete Hautzinger’s motion to explain under seal why he wants Nemnich to provide various items of evidence.
In his order, Flynn said the public’s right to access judicial records is not absolute and must be weighed against a defendant’s right to a fair trial and the prosecution’s interest in preventing disclosure of sensitive information.
“Based on the court’s review of the information sealed to date, the court finds that the People have demonstrated through their averments that the release of the information they are asking to remain under seal would have such an adverse impact on an ongoing investigation,” Flynn wrote in his order.
It’s unknown how long the affidavit will remain sealed. Hautzinger couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
Authorities largely have remained quiet about the investigation. They didn’t formally announce Nemnich’s arrest April 8 until nearly two days after the fact, and they have attributed the arrest only to advancements in technology.
It’s believed police linked Nemnich to the July 1975 stabbing deaths of Linda Benson, 24, and her daughter, Kelley, 5, using DNA evidence. Police used evidence from the crime scene for its tests.
Prosecutors want to collect from Nemnich “non-testimonial identification” evidence. That could include, among other things, blood, hair, fingerprints, measurements and handwriting samples.