Nevada Supreme Court rejects killer’s bid to get off death row | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Supreme Court rejects killer’s bid to get off death row

Scott Sonner
Associated Press
Defendant James Michael Biela stands in front of Jay Slocum, deputy public defender, in court in Reno, Nev. on Monday May 10, 2010 in the jury selection portion of his trial for allegedly raping and killing Brianna Denison in 2008 in Reno. (AP Photo/Pool, Marilyn Newton)
AP | POOL The Reno Gazette-Journal

RENO — The Nevada Supreme Court has denied a Reno man’s latest bid to get off death row for the 2008 rape and killing of a 19-year-old college student that became one of the highest-profile cases in the city’s history.

The high court rejected James Biela’s motion for a rehearing of the appeal it denied in April seeking a new penalty phase of his trial in the kidnapping and murder of Brianna Denison and sexual assault of two others near the University of Nevada, Reno.

Biela’s lawyers argued the jury wouldn’t have ordered Biela’s death if his public defenders had tried to block jurors from hearing improper evidence about his history of domestic violence and animal abuse.

The justices agreed the defenders were legally ineffective but ruled it wouldn’t have affected his sentence because of all the other overwhelming evidence.