Killer unlikely witness in cold-case trial

Kenneth Botham

A man convicted of killing four people in Grand Junction in 1975 has been named by prosecutors as a potential witness in a trial stemming from two cold-case murders from the same era.

Chances are slim, though, that Kenneth Botham, who is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole, will testify, Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said.

Botham, 62, is among the hundreds of endorsed prosecution witnesses in the trial of 65-year-old Jerry Nemnich, according to court filings.

Hautzinger said he is unaware of any connection between the men in Grand Junction in the 1970s, and Botham was added to the prosecution’s witness list because his name appeared in “a few” police reports from the era.

“We always err on the side of caution,” Hautzinger said. “There is virtually no chance he will actually be a witness at trial.”

Botham was convicted at trial in Mesa County in 1976 in the murders of his wife, Patricia, 25, Linda Miracle, 25, and Miracle’s sons, Troy, 5, and Chad, 3.

The four were reported missing in August 1975, and their bodies were found south of Grand Junction. Botham was sentenced to death.

Botham was tried and convicted a second time in 1982 after the Colorado Supreme Court overturned his first conviction.

He was sentenced to life in prison without parole after Colorado repealed its death penalty.

Prosecutors allege DNA evidence ties Nemnich to the Grand Junction apartment where Linda Benson, 24, and her daughter, Kelley, 5, were found stabbed to death in July 1975.

Nemnich pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial starting Aug. 25. His public defenders filed a motion last week seeking to reschedule the trial for October.


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