CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for James Biela, convicted of the 2008 rape and murder of a college student in Reno.
In an order issued Thursday, justices unanimously rejected arguments by Biela's attorneys that his conviction should be overturned because the jury's decision was motivated by passion generated by extensive news coverage and an outpouring of public support for 19-year-old Brianna Denison and her family.
Denison was abducted in January 2008 while sleeping on a friend's couch at a residence across the street from the UNR campus in Reno. Her body was found a month later.
Biela was arrested that November and faced trial in 2010. He also was charged with and convicted of sexually assaulting two other women in the months before Denison's disappearance.