UPDATE: Nemnich DNA evidence disclosed in court

By: KKCO Email
By: KKCO Email

More information on evidence against suspected murderer Jerry Nemnich is coming to light in court Wednesday. He's in court to determine whether or not there's enough evidence for him to stand trial in the 1975 murders of a Grand Junction woman and her daughter, Linda and Kelley Benson.

11 News Reporter Tim Ciseco is in the courtroom and says evidence turned over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation includes a Rice Chex cereal box with a drop of blood in it, an ash tray with a drop of blood on it and a blood sample taken from Linda Benson's body.

CBI says a DNA sample database matched Nemnich to those samples and that's how investigators first linked him to the crime.

Investigators have also spoken to a former girlfriend of Nemnich's. That relationship and two bad checks written to a Denver liquor store seem to indicate Nemnich lived in Grand Junction at the time of the murders.

When GJPD began investigating Nemnich, a criminal background check showed a history of felony rape convictions. Investigators are citing two rape cases involving Nemnich in court. The first was in Pueblo when he was convicted of rape. The other was in Longmont in 1962 when he was convicted of attempted rape and assault with a deadly weapon.

Investigators are testifying that there are similarities between those two cases and the Benson case. They all involved home invasion, rape or attempted rape and the use or presence of deadly weapons. Investigators have not yet specifically said Linda or Kelley were raped.

Investigators are also reviewing the coroner's report from the time of the murders, disclosing gruesome details. Some of Linda's family members are in court and District Attorney Pete Hautzinger says some of the details are new even to them.

During the initial investigation, Nemnich never appeared as a suspect in the murders. And even when investigators linked him through the DNA database in early 2009 and revisited with family members and acquaintances of Linda's, no one recognized Nemnich's name.

Court is in recess until 1:30 p.m. When back in session, the defense is expected to cross examine one of the investigators in the case. This preliminary hearing is scheduled to last until at least 3 p.m. Wednesday.

11 News will continue to follow this developing story on this Web site and will have more on 11 News at 5:30 and 10 p.m.

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