Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 1:01 pm | Fair 63º

 
 
 

Suspect in Rape, Murder of SBCC Student Pleads Not Guilty

A man charged with the abduction, rape and murder of a Santa Barbara City College student pleaded not guilty to his charges on Wednesday.

James Biela, 27, is accused of taking Brianna Denison, 19, away from her friend’s house in her hometown of Reno, Nev., early on Jan. 20, 2008. Dennison, then a psychology major at SBCC, was visiting on winter break and staying on her friend’s couch. Her body was found strangled on Feb. 15.

After months of investigation, DNA evidence linked Biela, a construction worker, to the place where Denison’s body was found. Police arrested him in November.

Police say he also is believed to be linked to other sexual assaults in the area.

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