August preliminary hearing scheduled in Benson murders

District Judge Brian Flynn on Wednesday scheduled a preliminary hearing for Aug. 19 in the case of accused double-murderer Jerry Nemnich.

Steve Colvin, Nemnich’s public defender, said the extra three months are needed to review “voluminous” amounts of Grand Junction police reports, many of them handwritten, from the 1970s.

“Everybody writes in cursive, which takes time to get through,” Colvin told the judge.

Nemnich, 64, of Longmont, was arrested last month in connection with the slayings of Linda Benson, 24, and her daughter, Kelley, 5.

Steve Benson, Linda’s husband, found the bodies inside the family’s apartment at 1300 N. 21st St. on July 25, 1975.

Nemnich has been charged with first-degree murder, felony murder and burglary.

An arrest affidavit remains filed under seal, but authorities have said Nemnich was linked to the crimes through DNA evidence.

Authorities, however, have not explained why they want to force Nemnich to submit additional DNA samples and fingerprints, among other identifying information.

Flynn on May 15 signed off on a prosecution request to collect the evidence, which could also include photographs of Nemnich as well as handwriting samples and palm prints.

Nemnich remains in custody at the Mesa County Jail on $3 million bond.


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