Serial Rapist Found Guilty of Rape and Murder of Nevada Coed
Published May 27, 2010 / Associated Press
RENO, Nev. -- A Nevada man was convicted Thursday of raping and strangling a 19-year-old college coed during a string of attacks that had the city of Reno on edge two years ago.
A Washoe County District Court jury found James Biela guilty of all five counts tied to the murder of Brianna Denison and sexual assault of two other young women.
Biela showed little emotion, standing with his hands crossed in front of his waist as the verdict was read.
"It's a good verdict, well deserved," District Attorney Dick Gammick said. "Cases like this always strengthen my faith and belief in the jury system."
The same jury that took about six hours to reach a verdict now must decide whether the 28-year-old pipe fitter from Sparks should be sentenced to death.
The sexual assaults began in the fall of 2007 around the University of Nevada, Reno campus just north of the downtown casino district and culminated in Denison's strangulation in January 2008.Detectives said it was the work of a serial rapist who stalked petite women and had a fetish for thong underwear.
Fueled by thousands of tips and calls to an anonymous hot line, a nine-month-long manhunt led them to Biela, who was arrested in November 2008 after his ex-girlfriend let police take DNA from their son.
Biela's public defenders called only one witness during the trial.
READ MORE: JAMES BIELA, SERIAL KILLER, MURDERED BRIANNA DENISON...