Click here to read the latest News Release from the Grand Junction Police Department regarding an arrest in a decades old Cold Case:
(Grand Junction, CO)- On Wednesday, April 8, the Grand Junction Police Department arrested 64-year-old Jerry Louis Nemnich of Longmont, CO on two counts of first degree murder. The charges stem from an investigation of the 1975 murders of 24-year-old Linda Benson and her 5-year-old daughter Kelley Benson.
Nemnich is currently being held in the Mesa County Jail on a 3-million dollars bond. His next court appearance is schedule for Tuesday, April 21 at 8:30am before Judge Brian Flynn.
Nemnich’s arrest is the result of the reopening of this case more than a year ago. In the fall of 2007 GJPD Commander Greg Assenmacher began reexamining the evidence collected during the initial investigation. He solicited help from retired veteran law enforcement officer Larry Bullard, and together they began using modern police investigative techniques that led to identification of Nemnich as a primary suspect. In February 2009, the GJPD put together a cold case task force, comprised of GJPD and Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and Mesa County District Attorney’s Office investigators. They were able to gather enough evidence to present to a judge who approved and signed a warrant for his arrest. It should be noted these recent developments would not have been possible without the diligent police work done during the original investigation in 1975. Once we were able to determine where Nemnich lived we began working with Longmont Police. We were able to determine he would be passing through the Grand Junction area on Wednesday, April 8th. GJPD officers contacted Nemnich at the Loma Port of Entry and placed him under arrest without incident.
THE ONGOING INVESTIGATION
Because of the age of this case we have been presented with some unique challenges, and this arrest is only one of many steps that must be taken to complete the investigation and ensure that Nemnich receives a fair trial. Although Nemnich has been charged with a crime, he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. We also owe the family members associated with this case, who have been dealing with these deaths for more than 30 years, our best efforts to bring a successful and accurate resolution to this case.
Currently we still have investigators who are tracking down and interviewing prior associates of Nemnich across the country, and because of that we are not able to provide all of the details of this investigation at this time. We also took steps to keep his identity confidential because we needed those associates to hear of this arrest from GJPD officers instead of from the news media. Our goal continues to be being as open and transparent as possible, as long as we are not jeopardizing the hard work our investigators are currently undertaking, and Nemnich’s right to a fair trial.
Linda and Kelley Benson were murdered inside their apartment in the 1300 block of N. 21st Street on July 24 or 25, 1975. Both had been stabbed and their bodies were discovered by Linda Benson’s husband as he returned home. During the initial investigation officers identified several persons of interest, but there was not enough information at the time to make an arrest.
Jerry Louis Nemnich has had several previous felony convictions. Those convictions include arrests for sexual assault, check fraud, and other crimes, as were outlined during his arraignment this morning. We are providing his current booking photo from this most recent arrest.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
After more than 30 years, there is still a lot of work that must be done. We are asking that anybody who may have known Nemnich to please call the GJPD at 970-244-3568.