Arraignment set in Reno for alleged killer, rapist |

Arraignment set in Reno for alleged killer, rapist

Associated Press

RENO ” A Dec. 31 arraignment has been set in Reno for a man accused by authorities of being a killer and serial rapist.

James Biela, 27, a former Marine and Sparks construction worker, is scheduled to appear New Year’s Eve before Washoe District Judge Robert Perry.

After a two-day preliminary hearing last week, Biela was bound over for trial on charges of murder, kidnapping and three counts of sexual assault.

Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek a death penalty.

Biela is charged with killing 19-year-old Brianna Denison, who disappeared Jan. 20 while sleeping on a friend’s couch at a rented home near the University of Nevada, Reno.

Denison’s body was discovered Feb. 15, partially hidden under a discarded Christmas tree in a vacant lot in a southeast Reno business district. Beneath her body, investigators said they found two pair of intertwined women’s thong underwear.

Biela also is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in October 2007 in a parking garage next door to where UNR police park their cruisers.

The woman identified Biela as her attacker during a hearing Wednesday before Justice of the Peace Patricia Lynch, who determined there is sufficient evidence for Biela to stand trial.

Biela also is charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in December 2007. Police have said DNA evidence links Biela to that crime and Denison’s killing.

Biela was arrested Nov. 25 when he arrived to pick his son up at a Reno preschool.

After a 10 month investigation, detectives said they began to focus on Biela in November, when a friend of Biela’s girlfriend called a tip line.

Investigators said Biela had moved to Washington state in March, but moved back to the Reno area in September. According to court documents, his girlfriend traveled to Washington to help him move, and later told a friend of finding a pair of women’s thong underwear in the glove compartment of Biela’s pickup truck.