New DNA delays trial for suspect in slayings

In a move spurred in part by new evidence, a judge Tuesday delayed the trial of a man accused of killing a Grand Junction mother and daughter in 1975.

“By all means, yes,” 65-year-old Jerry Nemnich told District Judge Brian Flynn, when Nemnich was asked by the judge whether he would voluntarily waive his constitutional right to have a trial within six months of his arrest.

Nemnich, who had been set for a three-week trial starting April 19, will be rescheduled for a trial to start in October.

Public defenders representing the former Longmont resident and over-the-road trucker filed a motion March 16 asking for the delay.

Prosecutors offered no objection and wrote in a court filing that a new round of DNA testing completed Feb. 26 by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has generated “highly significant new evidence.”

“Without going into great detail, suffice to say the testing appears to be highly beneficial to the people’s case against the defendant,” reads a court filing by District Attorney Pete Hautzinger. “Given the powerful potential impact of this new evidence, the people believe it is reasonable to grant the defense team additional time in which to consider it.”

Authorities last year alleged Nemnich’s DNA was present in 1975 at the Grand Junction apartment of Linda Benson, 24, and her daughter, Kelley, 5, who were found stabbed to death. Nemnich has pleaded not guilty to both murders.

Nemnich’s defense said in court filings they needed more time to track down and interview hundreds of prosecution witnesses, many of whose addresses haven’t been pinned down by either side.

“One witness is even endorsed as Bob Last Name Unknown, with address ‘unknown,’ ” the defense said in a filing.

As of mid-March, the case had generated nearly 4,000 pages of discovery, in addition to numerous audio and video recorded interviews.

“Some of this discovery is relatively new,” reads the defense motion.


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