Nemnich lawyer points to DNA of unknown male

The attorney for double-murder suspect Jerry Nemnich tried this morning to direct the spotlight away from her client and onto an unknown male whose blood was found inside the Grand Junction apartment where Linda and Kelley Benson were stabbed to death in 1975.

During cross-examination of Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent Cynthia Kramer, public defender Suzanne Katchmar played up the fact that the CBI was able to develop a DNA profile from a spot of blood found near the kitchen sink and determine it belonged to an unknown male. Kramer plugged the DNA profile into a database containing profiles of convicted offenders but found no matches.

“Mr. 1417 (the evidence number) is still out there, isn’t he?” Katchmar asked Kramer near the end of testimony this morning on the sixth day of Nemnich’s first-degree murder trial. “You don’t know the role Jerry Nemnich played. That could be the real killer, couldn’t he?”

“Yes, he could,” Kramer replied.

Katchmar also attacked test results that Kramer testified showed Nemnich’s DNA fully or partially matched eight blood samples found in the Benson apartment. Katchmar noted that many of the blood samples that were tested were extremely small and suggested that because investigators didn’t wear gloves in the apartment, the blood samples could have been contaminated or transferred, skewing the test results.

Jurors this afternoon are expected to hear testimony from Sandy Higgins, who was Nemnich’s girlfriend in 1975. She told police in 2009 that Nemnich came home one night during the summer of 1975 with blood all over his jeans. She told police Nemnich indicated that he had been in a bar fight.

Read the full story in Friday’s Daily Sentinel.


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