Nemnich given two life terms in ‘75 murders

Convicted double-murderer Jerry Nemnich, in court during sentencing today.

Jerry Nemnich was sentenced this afternoon to two consecutive life terms for the brutal murders of a Grand Junction mother and daughter in 1975, though he remained as defiant in learning his fate as he did while testifying during his trial.

The 66-year-old Nemnich, convicted nearly two weeks ago on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony murder in the stabbing deaths of 24-year-old Linda Benson and her 5-year-old daughter, Kelley Ketchum, will be eligible for parole after 20 years. Prosecutors said it’s highly unlikely, however, that the state parole board would release Nemnich.

During a 35-minute sentencing hearing, Benson’s mother, Barbara Rippy, stood facing Nemnich and called him a “domestic terrorist.” She said she planned to drive up to her daughter and granddaughter’s gravesites this evening and light candles.

“I have never, ever told them goodbye,” Rippy said.

Nemnich, who turned 66 Nov. 1, maintained his innocence.

“With all due respect to the victims’ families,” Nemnich said, turning in his chair to face Benson’s relatives and friends, “I would like to say I understand your feelings. But I am not the person who committed this crime. I am not guilty. I believe the law will ultimately prove that.

“I am an old man. I would really hate to die in prison for something I didn’t do.”

Check back with for updates later today and read the full story in Tuesday’s Daily Sentinel.


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