Nemnich jury finds him guilty

Jerry Nemnich

A jury has found Jerry Nemnich guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the 35-year-old slayings of Linda Benson and her daughter, Kelley Ketchum.

Nemnich, who turns 66 on Monday, was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder in the July 1975 slayings of the mother and daughter, and convicted him on an additional count of felony murder in Benson’s death. The six man, six woman jury however found him not guilty of felony murder in Ketchum’s death.

Nemnich faces a mandatory term of life in prison without parole during a sentencing hearing Nov. 8.

Nemnich told jurors in his surprise testimony Friday he was assaulted inside the apartment of Linda Benson the night of July 24, 1975, by an unknown attacker. Nemnich testified he wrestled a knife away from the assailant, dumped it in the apartment’s sink and only then discovered the bodies of Ketchum, 5, and her mother, Benson, 24.

District Attorney Pete Hautzinger called the account fiction, saying the story didn’t explain Nemnich’s DNA found underneath Benson’s fingernails, among other conflicts with evidence in the case.

Nemnich, an over-the-road trucker who had lived in Longmont for some 17 years after his release from prison for a rape conviction, was arrested for the Benson-Ketchum murders in April 2009, which was four months after the Colorado Bureau of Investigation confirmed in testing Nemnich’s DNA profile had been matched to blood samples from Benson’s apartment, including a drop of blood found on Benson’s chest.

Nemnich’s defense had challenged prosecutors to explain the presence of an unknown male, whose DNA was found in a blood sample recovered from the Benson apartment.

Read the full story in Thursday’s Daily Sentinel.


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