1999 Leadville murder case goes to trial in Lake County
SUMMIT COUNTY – Nearly eight years after Jerry Harold Garmany was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his girlfriend, Noreen Byrne, a Summit County jury began deliberating on a verdict Tuesday afternoon.Garmany, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, was also charged with first-degree assault and attempted murder in the stabbing of Noreen Byrne’s mother, Nora Byrne.Garmany was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder and first-degree assault in 2001 after an eight-day trial in Lake County District Court. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.The conviction was appealed and overturned because an expert witness in the trial had his license revoked. The trial was moved to Summit County in August 2007.The Lake County trial was twice postponed because not enough potential jurors answered their summons.On Tuesday, jury members, some with arms crossed, and others with their chins in their hands, listened closely as District Attorney Mark Hurlbert argued that Garmany acted deliberately, and “not in a hasty and compulsive manner.””He says he doesn’t remember. He blames it on epilepsy,” Hurlbert said. But the evidence, including testimony by a doctor, suggests the stab wounds were all inflicted in a deliberate way, Hurlbert said.Garmany stabbed Noreen five times with a folding-blade, Buck-style hunting knife with a four-inch blade. One blow fractured her skull.To deliver a verdict of not guilty, the jury must find that a defendant is incapable of forming the intent required to carry a murder and incapable of deliberating over his actions.The defense didn’t argue Garmany’s role in the death of Noreen Byrne, but claimed that his epilepsy caused him to have no memory of the night of the murder.The stabbings happened on March 26, 1999, in Leadville, when Noreen and Nora Byrne were attached in their home at 1500 Harrison. Lake County emergency dispatchers receive a 911 hang-up call at about 8:30 p.m. Moments later, a second 911 call came in from Noreen, reporting the stabbing, according to a report in the Leadville Chronicle.According to the Chronicle, former co-workers of Noreen Byrne described the relationship between Byrne and Garmany as abusive.When Lake County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the scene, they found Noreen dead and the elder Byrne wounded.Garmany was arrested the next morning as a suspect in the case and was brought to the Colorado state mental hospital a short time later.Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at email@example.com.
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