Cold-case team led to arrest in ’75 Grand Junction slayings
Aspen, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” An arrest in a 34-year-old double-slaying in Grand Junction came after two years of cold-case investigations by a team of current and retired police officers.
Police have confirmed the arrest in the July 1975 stabbing deaths of Linda Benson and her 5-year-old daughter, Kelley. They haven’t released the suspect’s name or any other information.
The suspect was scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon, followed by a news conference by investigators and prosecutors.
News reports from 1975 said Steve Benson found the bodies of his 24-year-old wife and their daughter in their Grand Junction apartment after he returned from several days in Hayden, where he was working as a pipe fitter..
Authorities said at the time that Linda Benson’s nude body was at the foot of a bed and Kelley’s body was on the floor of a connecting bathroom
Jim Alvillar, a deputy district attorney at the time who saw the apartment, described it as “a horrific scene.”
“It was tragic. There was a young woman who had obviously fought, and then there was a dead little girl,” said Alvillar, now a lawyer in Grand Junction.
In 2007, a team led by Grand Junction Police Cmdr. Greg Assenmacher reopened a number of cold cases, including Linda and Kelley Bensen’s.
Assenmacher asked investigators who had worked the Benson case earlier, along with other law-enforcement veterans, to review police reports and re-interview witnesses.
Authorities also submitted evidence to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for DNA testing in hopes that new technology could identify a suspect. A CBI official is scheduled to attend Friday’s news conference.
One of the officers working on the cold cases, Larry Bullard, told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in July that he hoped some of the slayings could be solved with technology that wasn’t available at the time of the deaths.
Linda Benson’s brother, Mark Himmerite, has said police told him of the arrest but were being tightlipped about the details.
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