Nemnich arrested for hammer attack at 15

Jerry Nemnich’s lengthy, violent criminal history in Colorado dates back to at least 1960 when, at the age of 15, he attacked a girl with a hammer in Boulder County and ripped off part of her clothes before fleeing in a stolen car to Nebraska, according to court records.

After committing a similar crime in Nebraska that same year, Nemnich was returned to Colorado two years later, charged in connection with the attack and convicted. He spent the next 11 years in and out of prison.

Information about the 1960 case and a series of subsequent court proceedings were contained in a package of records The Daily Sentinel obtained from the Colorado State Archives in Denver.

A sparsely detailed arrest affidavit indicates Nemnich got out of bed in his house around midnight on Aug. 29, 1960, took a hammer from the garage and walked about a mile to a Longmont girl’s home. He entered the house, walked down to the basement, turned on a light and went into the girl’s room. An officer wrote in the affidavit that the girl was an acquaintance of Nemnich.

“She sat up in bed and said “well.” Jerry says “he hit the panic button” striking the girl with the hammer and then tearing off part of her pajamas,” an officer wrote in the affidavit.

Nemnich fled the house, stole a car he found several blocks away and drove to Nebraska.

“In Nebraska he repeated the same action,” the affidavit said.

The affidavit didn’t include any other information about the Boulder County attack or about what happened in Nebraska. Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger has said Nemnich was convicted of attempted rape in Nebraska in 1960, although his sentence was unknown.

A six-person jury found Nemnich competent to stand trial, and he pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon, assault with intent to rape and larceny of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced in August 1962 to one day to life in prison.

The U.S. Supreme Court later deemed unconstitutional the sex-offender statute under which Nemnich was sentenced, and a Boulder County judge in 1969 resentenced him to four to seven years in prison. By that time, he had been paroled twice and incarcerated twice more — once for a parole violation and another time for a 1968 sexual assault in Pueblo County, court records
show.

He was paroled in the sex assault case in 1973.


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