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  1. #1

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    James Biela - Nevada Death Row



    Summary of Offense:

    A jury has picked the death penalty for James Biela, who was convicted of raping and killing Brianna Dennison, a college coed after sexually assaulting two others in Reno. The same Washoe County District Court jury that convicted James Biela deliberated about nine hours before reaching a unanimous verdict.

    Biela's public defenders asked the jury to spare Biela's life because he had no previous criminal record and had been abused growing up in poverty in the Chicago area. Washoe County prosecutors sought death for Denison's rape and strangulation during a string of attacks that shook the Reno community in early 2008.

    Biela was sentenced to death on June 2, 2010.

  2. #2

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    June 2, 2010

    RENO, Nev. (AP) -- A jury has picked the death penalty for a 28-year-old Nevada man convicted of raping and killing a college coed after sexually assaulting two others in Reno more than two years.

    The same Washoe County District Court jury that convicted James Biela last week deliberated about nine hours before reaching a unanimous verdict Wednesday.

    The former pipe fitter from Sparks will be sent to death row to await execution by lethal injection.

    Biela's public defenders asked the jury to spare Biela's life because he had no previous criminal record and had been abused growing up in poverty in the Chicago area.

    Washoe County prosecutors sought death for Denison's rape and strangulation during a string of attacks that shook the Reno community in early 2008

    http://www.ktnv.com/global/story.asp?s=12584556

  3. #3

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    June 3, 2010

    Brianna Denison's family to still push for mandatory DNA samples

    The Denison-Zunino families, especially the women, are a tough bunch who pulled together to get through one of the most horrific experiences any family could face.

    And now, they plan to use this energy to help others avoid facing a similar tragedy.

    “You just have to do it. You can cry the whole time or you can get mad. I got mad,” said Barbara Zunino, the maternal grandmother of murder victim Brianna Denison.

    “We’re a very outgoing family. That’s what kept us going. It was a horrible experience, but this made us stronger.”

    Zunino was one of dozens of friends and family who attended the James Biela trial daily, from May 10 to the jury’s decision Wednesday for the death penalty. They held hands, passed notes to each other, cried on each other’s shoulders and occasionally laughed to break the tension.

    The community outpouring of love and support touched their families and will be in their hearts forever, said Lauren Denison, Brianna’s aunt. Reading a quote from the poet Maya Angelou, Denison said, “If you find it in your heart to care for
    someone else, you have succeeded.”

    “This community has succeeded,” she said.

    Now they’ll use their pain to help others avoid a similar experience.

    “We can now move forward on the foundation,” Lauren Denison said. “We’ll be working hard to save other people.”

    The Brianna Denison Foundation, formed after her death, will work to toughen laws and teach others safe behaviors.

    The target now is the passage of “Brianna’s Law,” said her mother, Bridgette. The legislation would require anyone arrested on a felony charge to surrender a DNA sample, she said.

    “This law can prevent such senseless crimes,” she said.

    http://www.rgj.com/article/20100602/...na+Denison%C2%

  4. #4

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    July 30, 2010

    Biela gets life prison on top of NV death row

    An ex-Marine and pipefitter already on his way to Nevada's death row death for the murder of a 19-year-old college coed was sentenced to four additional life prison terms on Friday on charges tied to sexual assaults on two other young women.

    James Biela, 28, was convicted in June of raping and strangling Brianna Denison and jurors voted unanimously to execute him by lethal injection.

    Washoe County District Judge Robert Perry on Friday added the four life terms - to be served consecutively - for the rape of another young woman and the kidnapping and sexual assault of a third.

    Perry said he would sign the formal warrant and set the date for Biela's execution by Aug. 16. That will trigger an automatic appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

    Washoe County Deputy District Attorney Elliott Sattler said during the 30-minute hearing Friday that the additional maximum sentences were needed to guard against the chance that any of the convictions are overturned on appeal.

    In the event the death penalty is thrown out, Biela would have to serve a minimum of 36 years in prison on the other charges before he would be considered for parole, Sattler said. Each of the three sexual assault charges carries a minimum of 10 years, the kidnapping charge five years and one additional year for use of a gun during one of the attacks.

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...-nv-death-row/

  5. #5
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    Somewhat related:

    Opponents of Gun-Free Zones at Universities Find Unlikely Hero in Nevada Woman


    Amanda Collins, 25, shows a 9-mm Glock that she is permitted to carry and use for self defense.

    Across the country, lawmakers are debating whether universities should let students and faculty with permits carry their concealed weapon on campus. Those who want to put an end to such gun-free zones have found an unlikely hero in a petite, soft spoken, young woman who wonders why colleges protect most Constitutional rights, but not the one that matters most when staring into the face of a violent criminal.

    Amanda Collins, 25, is a wife and new mom, and a concealed weapon permit holder for years. At her father's law office in Reno, she showed us the 9-mm Glock she carries for her safety.

    "It's got a pretty standard magazine," she said, "and night sights so you can see in the dark when you're aiming."

    However, Collins couldn't aim her gun at the serial rapist who attacked her at the University of Nevada at Reno, where she was a student. That's because, like most public colleges outside of Utah and Colorado, UNR is a "gun free" zone. The rule required her to leave her gun at home, leaving her defenseless the one time she needed its protection most.

    In October of 2007, while walking to her car after a night class, Collins was grabbed from behind in a university parking garage less than 300 yards from a campus police office. The school's "gun-free" designation meant nothing to James Biela, a serial rapist with a gun of his own, who saw Collins as an easy target. "He put a firearm to my temple," she recounted, "clocked off the safety, and told me not to say anything, before he raped me."

    The university has since installed more emergency call boxes and lights in the parking structure, but Collins says that won't stop an attacker who knows the campus is a gun-free zone, a policy she believes invites crime, and may have even emboldened the man who raped her.

    Just months later, Biela went on to murder 19-year-old Brianna Dennison in a case that received widespread national attention. While Biela now sits on death row, Collins is convinced the outcome would have been different had she been armed.

    "I know, having been the first victim, that Brianna Dennison would still be alive, had I been able to defend myself that night."

    Collins is believed to be the first victim of an on-campus rape to come out and publicly share her horrific attack in an effort to change the law and keep people safe.

    Last month, she testified before Nevada lawmakers in support of , a bill that would allow concealed weapons at the state's public universities. It would abolish the requirement that permit holders get permission from the university president -- a request that is routinely denied. (Amanda was finally allowed to carry her weapon -- after she was attacked).

    But others say campus gun-free zones are vital to maintain security and reduce chances of gun related accidents and violence. Reno police oppose the bill, as does an academic group called the Nevada Faculty Alliance. Dr. Gregory Brown, professor of history at UNLV and vice president of the UNLV Faculty Alliance, points to studies that argue more guns on campus translates into more violence at school.

    Nevada State Senator Michael Schneider, D-Las Vegas, fears guns in the hands of students will be disastrous.

    "They are not trained professionals," Schneider said. "By the time any student could get a gun, when they were attacked by someone else with a gun if they went for their gun, it would be a bad outcome."

    But gun rights advocate John Lott argues that at the 70 schools that allow students and faculty with permits to carry guns, "not one has experienced the type of harm predicted by opponents. Not a single permit holder on these campuses has been involved in a firearm accident or crime."

    For Collins, the ban defies logic.

    "I don't understand why (the state) trusts good, responsible people to be able to have their firearm across the street, and as soon as they cross an arbitrary line, they somehow lose all reason and ability to be able to be competent with that responsibility. It makes no sense to me at all."

    Her main argument comes from self protection. "Everyone deserves a chance to defend themselves," she says. "The criminals who are intent on committing a crime don't care about what the rules and regulations are. The only ones that do are the law abiding citizens, and those are the ones who are permitted to carry everywhere else."

    Later this month, SB 231 heads to the Senate floor, where Schneider vows to block it.

    A dozen other states, including Florida, Idaho, and Texas, are also debating whether to lift gun bans on college campuses. As traumatic as it to relive her attack, Collins says she'll testify wherever and whenever she can to help make that happen.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/04/08...#ixzz1IwXSQxDJ

  6. #6
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    Biela's lawyers seek a new trial

    Two years ago, a Washoe County jury said James Biela should be executed for raping and killing Brianna Denison after sexually assaulting two other college girls, but today, his lawyers will tell the Nevada Supreme Court that mistakes were made during his trial and his convictions should be voided.

    In motions filed before the hearing, his lawyers said these alleged errors mean Biela should receive a new trial. But if the high court refuses to reverse his convictions, they want the justices to change his death sentence to life in prison without parole or allow him to have a new penalty hearing.

    Prosecutors said in their court documents that no errors were made during his 2010 trial and his convictions and death sentence should be affirmed.

    “Biela contends that this is but an ‘ordinary’ run-of-the-mill first-degree murder and an ordinary run-of-the-mill murderer” so Biela should not be sentenced to death,” Appellate Deputy District Attorney Terry McCarthy said in his response to the Biela motion.

    “The jurors, the representatives of the conscience of the community, seem to have disagreed,” McCarthy said. “Perhaps it was because of the evidence that Biela was a serial rapist who then graduated into murder. It seems most likely that our community avoided a serial killer only because we were able to catch the killer before his next graduation ceremony.”

    This is Biela first direct appeal to the Supreme Court, which is mandatory for all death penalty cases in Nevada, said Chief Appellate Deputy Public Defender John Petty, who wrote Biela’s appeal.

    On a January morning in 2008, a University of Nevada, Reno student discovered her friend, who had been sleeping on the couch, missing. Brianna Denison, a pretty, petite, vivacious girl with a contagious smile had disappeared without a trace.

    In the weeks that followed, the police and the community embarked on a round-the-clock search for Denison that included dogs, helicopters and door-to-door interviews looking for witnesses. Detectives found blood on her pillow and her cell phone and purse were left behind.

    Blue ribbons in honor of Bri appeared on fences, posters and on lapels throughout the Reno area.

    On Feb. 15, 2008, an engineer at a South Reno technology firm was walking through a field on his way to lunch and found a body. The near-naked girl was identified as Denison. She had been strangled with a pair of thong panties. Two other pairs of thong panties were next to her body.

    In November 2008, police arrested Biela thanks to a tip from his former girlfriend who reported that he had an obsession with thong panties. Two other women identified him as the man who sexually assaulted them in the months before Denison’s disappearance.

    Biela was charged with raping one of those women, kidnapping and raping the other and sexually assaulting and killing Denison. Washoe District Judge Robert Perry ruled against his lawyers’ motions to hold three separate trials on the three cases. In May 2010, after a two-week trial, the jury found him guilty on all five charges and said he should be sentenced to death.

    In the appeal, Biela’s lawyers said Perry erred by refusing to sever the three cases and try Biela separately.

    “The evidence in these counts did not tie in with a common scheme or plan, and would not be cross-admissible in the trials of the other charges,” Petty said in his motion. “Additionally, it was unfairly prejudicial to Mr. Biela to join these charges for the purpose of a single trial.”

    The prosecution said Perry “carefully evaluated each appropriate factor” when deciding to hold one trial. He also said the “crime spree” took place over three months, all of the victims were college-age and occurred within a 400-yard radius.

    “There is zero reason to believe that (Perry’s) decision was whimsical, or random, or based on a toss of the coin,” McCarthy said in his answering brief. He also said Biela’s lawyers failed to give any specifics on how he was prejudiced by being tried on all counts in one trial.

    Biela’s lawyers also said the judge erred by allowing the jury to ask a long list of questions during the trial. Letting the jurors submit questions “without administering adequate safeguards distorted the jury’s role as a neutral fact-finder and prejudiced Mr. Biela’s right to trial by an impartial jury.”

    McCarthy said the Supreme Court has already ruled that there should be no “prohibition against allowing jurors to pose questions to witnesses.” Biela’s lawyer said his conviction should be reversed because the judge did not warn the jurors against putting too much weight on their own questions, McCarthy said. “But the jury got that caution well before the time to deliberate,” McCarthy said.

    Biela’s lawyer also said the death sentence was excessive “considering both the crime and the defendant.” He said the jury’s decision to sentence Biela to death was motivated by passion generated by an “avalanche of news coverage, the huge volume of secret witness reports generated over time, the public ‘blue ribbons’ campaign in Brianna’s name and the ‘Bring Bri Justice Foundation work.”

    “This homicide became a ‘media case’ resulting in becoming a death penalty case,” Petty said.

    McCarthy said the record did not support that the verdict was “a product of passion or prejudice.”

    The judge held a thorough jury-selection process “and at the end all parties were satisfied that the jurors would not be influence by the publicity.”

    http://www.rgj.com/article/20120507/...ek-a-new-trial
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  7. #7
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    Nevada Supreme Court upholds Biela death penalty

    The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for James Biela (BEE'-lah), convicted of the 2008 rape and murder of a college student in Reno.

    In an order issued Thursday, justices unanimously rejected arguments by Biela's attorneys that his conviction should be overturned because the jury's decision was motivated by passion generated by extensive news coverage and an outpouring of public support for 19-year-old Brianna Denison and her family.

    Denison was abducted in January 2008 while sleeping on a friend's couch at a residence across the street from the UNR campus in Reno. Her body was found a month later.

    Biela was arrested that November and faced trial in 2010. He also was charged with and convicted of sexually assaulting two other women in the months before Denison's disappearance.

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012...serial-rapist/
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  8. #8
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    How do you become a pen pal to this inmate?

  9. #9
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    Why would you want to be a pen pal to this inmate? He broke into a home, kidnapped, raped and murdered 19-year-old Brianna Denison.

    Just saying....

    But if you really want to pen pal with a murderer join Prison Talk Online. They should be able to guide you.
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  10. #10
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    This would be the reason that I wanted to Pen Pal with a "murderer".... Please visit this Facebook Page and go to the about section. There you will find a website with PROOF of his innocence. Thank You.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justi...692290?fref=ts

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