LONGMONT, Colo. –
A 64-year-old Longmont man who was convicted for a series of rapes has been arrested in the 1975 stabbing deaths of a 24-year-old woman and her 5-year-old daughter in Grand Junction.
Jerry Nemnich appeared by video in a Grand Junction court Friday, where he was told he’s being held in connection with the long-unsolved slayings of Linda Benson and her daughter, Kelley.
A judge set Nemnich’s bail at $3 million after District Attorney Pete Hautzinger told the court that Nemnich poses a “greater escape risk.”
Nemnich’s arrest record began when he was 16. Eight years later, he escaped from a Boulder work crew; five years after that, he absconded from parole.
An arrest affidavit in the case has been sealed, and authorities are giving few details on the evidence that led to Nemnich’s arrest 34 years after the gruesome murders and more than a year after the cold case was reopened.
“We still have a long ways to go to bring this case to a conclusion,” said Grand Junction Police Chief Bill Gardner.
Grand Junction police and Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Nemnich, a long-haul trucker, when he crossed the Utah-Colorado border at the port of entry station near Loma on Wednesday, according to Grand Junction police spokeswoman Kate Porras.
Nemnich, who was taken into custody without incident, faces two counts of first-degree murder, Porras said.
His sexual-assault history is extensive, according to criminal history records. His first offense was in Nebraska in 1960, when he was 16. The following year, at 17, Nemnich was convicted of rape with a weapon and served time in a Colorado prison, said Katherine Sanguinetti, Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman.
In 1968, he was imprisoned for assault with intent to rape, according to criminal records. In 1974, Nemnich was arrested in Boulder for rape using a weapon, kidnapping and assault, records show. It’s unknown whether that case was resolved.
Between 1978 and 1992, he served time in prison for a Denver rape.
Nemnich’s Longmont home at 219 Terry St. on Friday sat quiet, except for a friendly black-and-white dog that jumped to greet guests. Neighbors said they rarely saw Nemnich and a woman he lived with.
“They seemed like pretty private people,” said Terri Burgess, who has lived across from Nemnich for two years. “But they haven’t done anything to make me feel uncomfortable.”
A Longmont police officer’s business card was tucked into the door jam of a house next to Nemnich’s, and one neighbor said he would have been more careful had he known about the rap sheet of the man next door.
“I would have been more cautious about going outside,” said Jared Block, 25, who said he never saw anyone coming or going from Nemnich’s house.
Earlier this week, Grand Junction authorities notified the victims’ family members of the developments in the cold case.
The slain woman’s brother, Mark Himmerite, 49, of Grand Junction, said police told him the man they believe killed his sister was responsible for other murders.
According to a July 27, 1975, Denver Post article, investigators discovered the bodies of Benson and her daughter on a Friday afternoon in their apartment. The woman was found naked on the floor of the master bedroom. She had been stabbed in the chest five times.
The girl’s body was found on the floor of a hallway between two bedrooms. She had been stabbed in the chest eight times.
Neither victim was raped. Investigators found blood at the crime scene that did not match either victim. Authorities won’t say whether they used that evidence to link Nemnich through DNA to the murders.
For more on this developing story, visit www.denverpost.com.
Am I the only person baffled by this story?WTF? How do that many arrests, time served, etc., etc. happen w/ *one* CONVICTED rapist?!?
4/10/2009 3:17:25 PM
I’d like to know how they knew to pull him over. Good that they did.
4/10/2009 3:22:21 PM
No, SG_I too ‘wondered’ (With outrage!) how a REPEATED rapist was free from BEING raped in prison to escalate to murder in GJ.
That he walked away from a Boulder hand-slap/laugh sentence was NO wonder-but equal in outrage.
4/10/2009 3:23:09 PM
Time to put him away permanently.
4/10/2009 4:00:07 PM
Of course, Boulder’s only connection with this story is one of enforcement failure.
4/10/2009 4:05:31 PM
UAN, he had to stop at the port of entry station. I’m assuming they were waiting for him there after discovering his route/schedule.
4/10/2009 4:31:48 PM
andy, just curious if they had ID’d him via previous DNA evidence when he was in prison or something else? I’d like to hear some of what went into the investigation. “Specially as it was successful.
4/10/2009 4:48:54 PM
Sounds like a real nice guy. :\\
4/10/2009 4:59:32 PM
People like this live in Longmont?
4/10/2009 6:47:24 PM
Good old Methmont.
4/10/2009 6:48:48 PM
Hang ’em high!
4/10/2009 7:01:01 PM
Gosh. He had to live in Longmont! What a Nemnich!
4/10/2009 7:20:57 PM
Longmont and Grand Junction have been sister cites for a long time now.
This doesn’t surprise me.
4/10/2009 7:22:07 PM
Grand Junction has better meth, so I hear. But I understand that they are gifting Longmont a Superlab, which I think is really sweet. What would be an appropriate response? An internet cafe/crack den, maybe? In such situations, flowers or fruit baskets won’t do.
4/10/2009 7:51:34 PM
A meth super lab is a very special gift.
I’m sure they are hoping for a lot of stolen car and motorcycle parts and oxycontin (or something good from a pharmacy score).
Grand Junction does have better meth but Longmont has better access to towns with stuff to steal.
But a gift is really about the thought behind the gift.
Is a rebel flag belt bucket really worth a 1/2 gram of meth maybe not but the friendship that develops is priceless.
4/10/2009 8:13:04 PM
Whew, I’m sure glad we don’t have anyone like this in Boulder….oh wait.
4/10/2009 9:04:50 PM
Posted by monkeys on April 10, 2009 at 6:47 p.m.
“People like this live in Longmont?”
Apparently, this is how Boulder liberals deals with rapist.They deport them to Longmont.
4/10/2009 9:17:40 PM
Posted by NukesInBoulder on April 10, 2009 at 6:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)
Good old Methmont.
Another pathetic jab at Longmont.
4/10/2009 9:33:12 PM
These kinds of people live in Longmont.
4/11/2009 1:01:09 AM
Excellent work CBI !!
There are more out there…Get Some.
4/11/2009 3:15:59 AM
He doesn’t look like a killer.
Most rapists do not kill.
4/11/2009 1:02:35 PM
“In 1974, Nemnich was arrested in Boulder for rape using a weapon, kidnapping and assault, records show. It’s unknown whether that case was resolved.”
Another bang-up Police job, nice work Boulder PD.
4/11/2009 4:56:34 PM
Wow. More pathetic commentary about Longmont. If anyone in Longmont is making it, it’s so the City of Boulder can consume it.
4/11/2009 11:36:27 PM
Jerry’s from Grand Junction, not Longmont. People in Longmont have guns. If Jerry were from Longmont then he would have shot people, not stabbed them.
What is truly frightening about this story and the others that I’ve read about this fellow is that he keeps getting released. One time he was released by mistake. Our justice system is about extorting money. If you have it and give it, away you walk.
4/15/2009 11:49:54 AM