Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brianna Denison Case: James Biela ~ Guilty!

For the last 2 and a half weeks, I've been watching the trial of James Biela (See the photo on the left.) up in Reno.  KOLO has had a "live blog" up every day with Auburn Hutton at the keyboard in the courtroom giving us a "blow by blow" description of what was going on in the courtroom.   She did a fantastic job of letting us know what was happening.  There was a lot of testimony that was restricted/protected so for a fair amount of time, there were no live TV cameras running in there.  Yesterday, the prosecution and the defense finally got to their closing arguments and the jury got the case about 5:30pm last night.  They deliberated until about 7 and the judge sent them home. (Due to cost restrictions, the courthouse closes at 7pm. Period, everyone goes home.)  The jurors were back at it about 8:40am this morning and a few of us were trying to find information where ever we could find it.  I finally found the Reno Gazette Journal's Twitter presence and "followed" them.  They were giving hourly updates, more or less, so I was relaying what they said over to those who were lurking on the InSession board for Brianna.  Finally, about 1:30pm RGJ tweeted that the jury had reached a verdict.  We all scrambled to find some kind of coverage, but KOLO and RGJ came through for us.  KOLO had the live blog up and RGJ had a live stream video up for us. 
At about 2pm, the jury came back into the courtroom and handed their verdicts over. Here's a list of the charges and what they found:
  • Count 1 is sexual assault, from the October 2007 rape in the parking garage at the University of Nevada. GUILTY
  • Count 2 is kidnapping - the woman taken from outside her apartment in December 2007. GUILTY
  • Count 3 is the sexual assault against that woman which allegedly happened in Biela's truck. GUILTY
  • Count 4 is murder of Brianna Denison. It's open murder, which means the jury decides if it's first degree, second degree, or manslaughter. GUILTY OF 1ST DEGREE MURDER
  • Count 5 is sexual assault - against Brianna Denison. GUILTY
The camera view of Biela was sort of from the back and one of his attorneys pretty much blocked any view of his face when the verdicts were read, but from what little I could see, he showed very little emotion. 
The court then took a short recess because one of the alternate jurors didn't make it back to the courthouse fast enough.  Court reconvened about 2:30pm and they began the opening statements for the penalty phase.  The prosecutors the jury to give him the death penalty and the defense wants the jury to give "Jimmy" life in prison without parole. 
I'm not going to give a blow by blow description of what happened, I'll post links to the two websites I found the most information on during the trial at the end of this post.  I'll be watching the live blog again tomorrow and hopefully watching a live stream video just to see what the defense is putting on.  They had a forensic psychologist on the stand when they stopped tonight and I'm sure she'll be back again tomorrow.  The defense will most likely be presenting witnesses most of the day tomorrow.  We'll see if the defense takes the whole day.  I'm not sure if the Reno/Nevada courts work on Saturdays, but I'm guessing they don't. So, we'll hear from the prosecution on Monday.  The prosecutor said in his opening statement that one of the things they were going to do is play the song that Brianna's brother, Brighton wrote for her.  I will have to make sure I've got the kleenex handy because I know I'm going to have tears when that plays.

Rest in Peace, Bri... Justice is yours.  My heart goes out to her family and friends.  I hope you all find peace...

The song written by Brighton Denison on MySpace: It's Not Time to Say Goodbye
Reno Gazette Journal coverage:
KOLO8 coverage:

1 comment:

katfish said...

Thanks for the heads up on this conviction!!!

What a creep!

RIP Brianna