The Murder of Brianna Denison
Born June 29, 1981, in Chicago, Ill., James Michael Biela was 9 when his family moved to Reno. Later in life, he could be the life of a party or a barroom gathering, known as a funny guy who took martial arts classes. But he was also known to have a quick temper, and some described him as a bully. He joined the Marine Corps after high school and was promoted to the rank of lance corporal, but was discharged in 2001 for drug use.
Following his earlier run-ins with the law, Biela lived with a new girlfriend in Sparks, east of Reno, and they had a son together. Neighbors described him as a "nice, normal guy," and no one noticed anything peculiar about him, even the police officers who trained alongside him in martial arts classes.