One of Aurora suspect’s lawyers defended Nemnich

Daniel King


Daniel King

One of the attorneys for accused mass murderer James Holmes should be familiar to Grand Junction courtroom watchers.

Currently assigned to the Colorado State Public Defender office’s capital cases team, Chief Trial Attorney Daniel King was one of two lawyers who defended convicted double murderer Jerry Nemnich at trial in Grand Junction in October 2010.

On Monday, King spoke on behalf of Holmes in an Arapahoe County courtroom as the 24-year-old Holmes was advised of possible charges including first-degree murder in connection with one of the worst shooting sprees in U.S. history last Thursday at an Aurora movie theater, killing 12 people and wounding at least 58.

Holmes sported reddish orange hair during the brief court appearance, sitting next to another public defender, Tamara Brady, while appearing dazed.

Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers said it could take up to a year for Holmes’ case to go to trial, adding a decision on a death penalty prosecution was months away, The Associated Press reported. Holmes will be formally charged next Monday.

Nemnich, 67, is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole and was convicted by a Mesa County jury in connection with the July 1975 stabbing deaths of Linda Benson, 24, and her daughter, Kelley, 5.

King’s defense of Nemnich was centered around testimony from the killer himself. Nemnich claimed he was stabbed in Benson’s apartment by an assailant of unknown gender in the bizarre outcome of a late-night attempt to buy marijuana after meeting a stranger at a North Avenue bar.

Prosecutors ridiculed Nemnich’s story as District Attorney Pete Hautzinger referenced “space aliens” during rebuttal.

Hautzinger on Monday said he thinks highly of King, who proved to be “not unduly confrontational” during Nemnich’s trial.

“That was somewhat surprising to me,” the DA said. “He’s got an incredibly difficult job and one I’d have a hard time doing.”

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