James Biela May Have Used Panties In Brianna Denison Strangling

By: Auburn Hutton Email
By: Auburn Hutton Email

RENO - A shocking discovery came to light in the murder case of Brianna Denison Thursday New evidence alleges that 27-year-old James Biela may have used a pair of women's thong underwear to strangle her.

The man is now set to face trial for Denison's kidnapping and murder, as well as for the rape of at least two other women.

The judge has bound James Biela over for trial in Washoe County District Court.

Biela could make a plea within the next two weeks, but after that, it could be up to a year, or even more...before we see him back in court again.

Court proceedings brought up new evidence in the case that turned the stomachs of family members in the courtroom.

The man who found Denison's naked body in a field testified, describing animal bites on her body, and a Christmas tree thrown on top of her, failing to keep her hidden.

Alberto Jimenez says he went to police when the young woman's battered body reminded him about the safety of his own children.

"If I did not do something about what I had seen, it would haunt me for a long, long time.."

Then a detective took the stand, a man who says he helped solve the case on a "hunch." After a Secret Witness tip led Adam Wygnanski to Biela...he interviewed him, and that's when he says he knew he had his guy.

"I observed a bead of sweat going down the left side of his face when I spoke to him. He was just very very nervous," said Wygnanski.

Since Denison went missing and two women were reportedly raped, 5,000 police leads have come in, and 700 men have had their DNA tested...but so far, there's only been one man whose DNA matched that from the crime scenes.

"James Biela or any of his paternal male relatives cannot be excluded from the Y chromosome DNA profile," said Dr. Lisa Smith Roam with the Washoe County Crime Lab.

And what's even more disturbing to Denison's family, is the way in which her life was taken.

"In my opinion, Brianna Denison died of asphyxiation to strangulation by ligature," said Dr. Helen Clark, who conducted the autopsy.

With a wound on her neck, the same size and shape as the strap on a pair of her best friend's panties.

"Pathetic sick man. He's pathetic," said Denison's grandmother, Carol Pierce.

Most of Brianna's family was inside the courtroom for the testimony, although her mother, Bridget, and brother, Brighton, left the room when some of the most graphic details were discussed.

Denison's aunt Lauren Denison tells me she's very happy with the judge's decision, and will now let the justice system speak for itself.

On the other side of the courtroom, Jame's Biela's mother and his two sisters sat quietly, all the while looking as though they had no idea biela was capable of this type of violence.

Biela's been bound over to district court where he will be arraigned within the next two weeks. He can plead either guilty, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. After that, a trial will be scheduled.

District Attorney Dick Gammick says due to the amount of evidence in this case, the attorneys may request more time to prepare for the trial. Biela is on a no-bail hold at the jail, which is where he will be sitting until both sides are ready to make their case.

The D.A. has not decided yet whether he'll seek the death penalty in this case.


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