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Miriam Francis HELMICK





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide - Forgery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 10, 2008
Date of arrest: December 8, 2008
Date of birth: January 26, 1957
Victim profile: Her second husband, businessman Alan Helmick, 62
Method of murder: Shooting (.25-caliber handgun)
Location: Whitewater, Mesa County, Colorado, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 198 years in prison on December 8, 2009
photo gallery

Life plus 108 years for Helmick

By Paul Shockley

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Alan Helmick’s daughters told a judge that Miriam Helmick “defiled and infiltrated” a family before insulting the memory of their late mother by assuming her identity.

“We’re happy she can’t hurt anybody else,” Portia Vigil, Alan Helmick’s eldest daughter, told the judge during Helmick’s sentencing hearing Wednesday. “This is the end.”

In a partly symbolic sentence, District Judge Valerie Robison imposed the maximum term for each of the 14 counts that Helmick was found guilty of Tuesday by a jury: life plus 108 years in prison.

Helmick, 52, faced a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole for the first-degree murder of Alan Helmick.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Tammy Eret asked the judge for maximum terms on each of the other counts, saying the sentence should reflect the fact Helmick committed specific crimes on different days, involving different victims.

“Whether it’s symbolic or not, I think it’s necessary,” Robison said of the unusual sentence.

Helmick, who appeared in court shackled at her hands and feet for the first time since the start of her trial on Nov. 9, said nothing Wednesday when she was given the chance to speak, staring forward with no expression.

Feet away, Kristy Helmick-Burd, Alan Helmick’s youngest daughter, told the judge her father, and grandfather to five young girls, trusted and embraced his second wife.

“We did the same,” Helmick-Burd said.

Robison ordered Helmick to pay $521 in court costs, while restitution was left open for 45 days. Costs of prosecution for the Mesa County District Attorney’s office are expected to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Helmick was sentenced nearly one year to the day after Mesa County Sheriff’s investigators arrested her in Jacksonville, Fla. She was arrested during a traffic stop in Jacksonville, and authorities found in her purse several pieces of identification belonging to Sharon Helmick, Alan’s first wife, who died in December 2003.

A jury found that Miriam Helmick shot her husband in the back of the head in the kitchen of the couple’s Whitewater home on June 10, 2008, which was 40 days after she tried to kill him by trying to blow up his car outside a business in Delta.


Day 12 of the Helmick murder trial

December 2, 2009

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The prosecution continued to paint Miriam Helmick as a woman looking for a man with money and possibly looking to change her identity in day 12 of the trial.

In court Tuesday, a former neighbor from Florida took the stand and described the conversations between her and Miriam. Lee recounted how Miriam told her about her online dating and what she wanted to get out of it. "She said she was horny and she needed some sexual... and she needed to be taken care of, she needed to have fun, let her hair down," said, Lee.

Lee also told the jury how Miriam admitted to using her husband's first wife's drivers license while she was in Florida. Alan Helmick's first wife died of cancer.

Mesa County Sheriff’s investigators also showed pictures found on a computer used by Miriam while in Florida. According to investigator Michael Piechota, Internet files on a computer used by Miriam suggested she browsed through more than 200 profiles of men on dating sights, contacting several of them.

There were also pictures of drivers licenses found on the computer as well as a social security card and other things. Piechota says, "There's 39 of the licenses, one of the social security card and then there is one, like a clip art, for a marriage certificate."


Court file in husband's death details schemes

By Nancy Lofholm - The Denver Post

December 23, 2008

GRAND JUNCTION — A dance instructor, twice widowed when husbands died of bullets to the head, tried to kill her second husband by attempting to blow up his car and had been researching poisoning before she allegedly shot him in a staged robbery, according to an arrest affidavit.

Miriam Helmick, 51, was arrested two weeks ago and charged with first- degree murder and attempted murder in the death of Alan Helmick on June 10. The affidavit detailing the evidence against her was unsealed Monday.

That affidavit chronicles 49 pages of suspicious activities surrounding the death of Alan Helmick. He had been known as a responsible business person and attentive father to his grown children but increasingly had been cut off from family and friends and concerned business associates in the months before his death. His wife kept his cellphone in her purse and returned calls when messages were left for him.

The affidavit says Alan Helmick had been ill with mysterious symptoms that kept him mostly bedridden for months while Miriam Helmick plundered his bank accounts. But he had improved in the weeks before his death. A coroner's report said no poison was found in his body.

The affidavit says Miriam Helmick forged $16,000 in checks on one of her husband's bank accounts. She also sold some of his property after his death, depriving his children of the proceeds.

She told friends and neighbors that suspicious things were happening around their house and she thought someone was targeting her after her husband was killed. But she was filmed on a store surveillance camera buying a greeting card that she wrote a threat on and tried to use as evidence that there was a stalker.

The couple had been married for two years before the killing. They met at a dance studio where she was an instructor and he was a lonely, well-to-do, 62-year-old widower who was taking ballroom dance classes after the death of his wife of 36 years. He owned a number of real estate and development-related businesses.

The couple lived in a 3,200-square- foot home south of Grand Junction, where they raised horses. Miriam Helmick opened her own dance studio after the couple married. The affidavit says many of the 11 forgeries she is accused of were checks paid to that business from Alan Helmick's account and signed by Miriam Helmick.

She had been arrested twice in 2004 in Florida on embezzlement and larceny charges. At the time, she lived in Jacksonville with her first husband.

She was not considered a suspect when that husband, Jack Giles, died of a gunshot to his brain while lying in bed with her. Giles' finger was in the trigger of a handgun, according to police reports, and it was ruled a suicide. That case has not been reopened.

Two months before Alan Helmick was killed, Miriam Helmick was doing online searches for "Ambien overdose," "buy purple foxglove" and "Viagra overdose." Ambien is a sleeping pill, foxglove a poison and Viagra an erectile-dysfunction drug that can have serious side effects on those with heart problems like Alan Helmick had.

Forty-one days before he died, the Helmicks made a trip to Delta where he waited in his car while she went inside a business. His car caught fire while he was sitting in it. A wick was found shoved into the full gas tank.

Miriam Helmick had asked her husband to remotely open the trunk and gone around to the back of the vehicle while he was waiting in it.

Workers said the bathroom smelled like lighter fluid after Miriam Helmick used it. She was named as a prime suspect in that incident by Delta investigators.

Miriam Helmick quickly became the principal suspect in Mesa County as investigators began unraveling the incidents surrounding her husband's death.

Helmick was arrested in Florida earlier this month and returned to Grand Junction, where she has been jailed on $2 million bond.

She appeared in court last week — shackled, stooped and dressed in a high-security red jail jumpsuit — for a formal filing of charges.

She is scheduled to return to court Jan. 29 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.


Checks forged months before Helmick murder

By Paul Shockley -

December 18, 2008

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Miriam Helmick allegedly forged checks in her husband’s name starting nearly a year before his murder, according to charging documents filed Thursday.

Helmick, who’s accused of trying to kill Alan Helmick in an April 30 car fire before killing him June 10 at the couple’s home, allegedly forged 11 checks between July 15, 2007, and May 1, 2008 — a dollar figure in the alleged fraud isn’t listed.

Miriam Helmick, 51, was formally charged Thursday morning in a 14-count complaint with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and 11 counts of forgery.

Alan Helmick, 62, was shot in the head June 10 at 34999 Siminoe Road in Whitewater in what was reported to 911 dispatchers by Miriam Helmick as a possible robbery at the home.

Steve Colvin, Helmick’s appointed public defender, waived his client’s right for a preliminary hearing in the next 30 days.

She’s scheduled to return to court Jan. 29.

According to Thursday’s charging documents, Helmick allegedly had a “wick used to ignite fuel or gasoline” in a fire April 30 in Delta, which damaged her husband’s car as he was in it.

Helmick’s charged with attempted first-degree murder in connection with the fire. Authorities have confirmed little about it.

During an interview June 18 with the Free Press, Miriam Helmick acknowledged a “long thing with cotton-like stuff” had been shoved into the car’s gas tank, smoldering and partially melting a plastic gas cap.

“It very well could be related to (Alan Helmick’s murder), I don’t know,” Miriam Helmick said during the interview.

“It was a full tank of gas in that car,” she added.

Helmick’s arrest warrant affidavit is expected to be made public early next week.

Alan Helmick’s daughter, Portia Rae Vigil, was granted “emergency” legal authority over her father’s estate and financial matters on July 18.

In an affidavit dated July 17, Vigil wrote unspecified property was missing and sold at the Siminoe Road home. She said checks written on her father’s bank account had been returned due to insufficient funds.

“While I am not accusing any person of wrongdoing, the circumstances surrounding his death suggest that special care be taken to preserve assets, property and records,” Vigil wrote.

“At this time, nobody knows what information might be helpful to the sheriff’s investigation.”

Attempts to reach Vigil for comment since Miriam Helmick’s arrest have been unsuccessful.

The Florida-Times Union newspaper in Jacksonville, Fla., reported Dec. 8 that Helmick pleaded guilty to charges there in 2004 related to a counterfeit check cashing scheme and spent three days in jail.

Helmick’s first husband, Jack Calloway Giles, 46, died of a gunshot wound to the head while lying in bed with his wife the morning of April 15, 2002, at their Jacksonville home.

Giles’ death was ruled suicide a month later.


Two-time widow held in Colorado killing

Her second husband was shot to death in Colorado

By Jim Schoettler -

December 9, 2008

A woman arrested Monday in Jacksonville and charged with the slaying of her husband in Colorado was previously widowed from a Jacksonville man whose shooting death six years ago was investigated as a suicide.

Jacksonville homicide detectives reviewed the 2002 death of Miriam Helmick's first husband, Jack Giles, after learning several months ago that she was a possible suspect in the Colorado slaying, said Chief Rick Graham of the Sheriff's Office.

Graham said Monday that detectives found no reason to reopen the Giles shooting, which occurred while his wife was next to him in bed. Giles was found with a gun in his hand and his wife said he had been suicidal, records show. The couple lived on South Landmark Circle in North Jacksonville.

Graham said his office will likely stay in touch with Colorado officials to see whether anything relevant to the local case turns up in their investigation.

"There was nothing in our review that caused any undue concern that would merit us reopening the [local] case," Graham said.

Helmick, 51, is charged in the June 10 slaying of her second husband, businessman Alan Helmick. Helmick, 62, was found shot in the head in his home near Grand Junction, Colo. His wife called 911 and told authorities that her husband was the victim of a robbery.

Helmick was arrested outside a relative's Arlington home after a murder warrant was issued Monday morning. Colorado deputies were joined in the arrest by agents with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Helmick is being held on $2 million bail at the Duval County jail, pending extradition proceedings. She is charged with murder, attempted murder and 11 counts of forgery.

Details weren't available on the forgery counts, but records show Helmick once faced fraud charges in Jacksonville. Those charges were connected to a 2004 counterfeit check-cashing scheme in which Helmick, then Miriam Giles, pleaded guilty to and spent three days in jail.

Heather Benjamin, a spokeswoman with the Mesa County (Colo.) Sheriff's Office, said she wasn't sure when Helmick returned to Jacksonville or how long she had been a suspect in her husband's slaying. Benjamin said the Helmicks had been married for several years and both had children from previous marriages.


Wife arrested in husband’s slaying

By Paul Shockley -

December 8, 2008

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — An arrest warrant was filed Monday morning for 51-year-old Miriam Helmick, charging her with first-degree murder after deliberation in the June shooting death of her husband, Whitewater businessman Alan Helmick.

Bond has been set at $2 million and the warrant was filed under seal.

District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said Helmick was arrested Monday morning in Florida.

District Judge Brian Flynn signed the warrant on Dec. 2. It was filed at the Mesa County Justice Center on Monday morning. She was wanted for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and 11 counts of felony forgery.

Alan Clarke Helmick, 62, was shot in the head at his home in Whitewater, 34449 Siminoe Road, just before noon on June 10. Miriam Helmick found her husband and alerted authorities to what was phoned in to 911 dispatchers as a possible robbery.

In an interview with the Free Press, Miriam Helmick said she and her husband had plans to meet the morning of June 10 in Grand Junction for lunch.

Miriam Helmick’s first husband, Jack Calloway Giles, 46, died of a gunshot to the head on April 15, 2002, lying in bed with his wife.

The Duval County (Fla.) Medical Examiner’s Office said Jack Giles then shot himself with a .38 handgun he kept in a night stand next to the couple’s bed.

The case was ruled suicide and cleared by authorities a month later.


Twice widowed, woman waits for break in husband's murder probe

By Paul Shockley -

June 20, 2008

GRAND JUNCTION — Miriam Helmick said her husband gave her a wad of cash early June 10 before uttering one of his familiar sayings:

“Have fun like hell.”

She said they had plans to meet in Grand Junction for lunch.

Alan Clarke Helmick, 62, had plenty of favorite lines like “I wonder what the poor people are doing?” — Miriam said she heard it for the first time on one of their many Lake Powell getaways.

“And I don’t mean money,” Miriam said, finishing the second half of Alan’s take on “poor people.”

“It’s about smelling the roses.”

Miriam Helmick, 51, had the same sayings printed on Alan Helmick’s funeral program — she buried a husband Tuesday for the second time in six years.

On Wednesday, she mulled around the garage of the 3,200-square-foot home she shared with Alan Helmick, preparing feed for the horses roaming the couple’s 40-acre spread just south of Whitewater.

She returned to the 34999 Siminoe Road home less than a week after the June 10 slaying of her husband.

“I feel real close to Alan here,” she said. “All of this was our project.”

Alan Helmick was shot in the head inside his home. Miriam Helmick found her husband and alerted authorities to what was phoned in to 911 dispatchers as a possible robbery.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office has said next to nothing about the case in the 10 days since. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin last week said Helmick’s murder was the lone focus the agency’s complex crimes unit.

Miriam said she couldn’t e-mail family photos to the Free Press Wednesday because sheriff’s investigators had seized all computers in the home.

‘I thought that kind of life was over’

Jack Calloway Giles, 46, died of a gunshot to the head on April 15, 2002, lying in bed with his wife, Miriam Morgan Giles, according to records obtained from the Jacksonville, Fla., sheriff’s office.

It was the morning after Jack Giles’ birthday — Miriam told deputies she woke early for her normal exercise but instead went back to bed, according to an incident report.

The Duval County (Fla.) Medical Examiner’s Office said Jack Giles then shot himself with a .38 handgun he kept in a night stand next to the couple’s bed.

The case was ruled suicide and cleared by authorities a month later.

Miriam told investigators her husband was still distraught over the August 2001 accidental death of their daughter, Amy, 23.

“He sat there the day before and waited by the phone for her to call, which she’d done every year on his birthday,” Miriam said Wednesday.

“He couldn’t handle it.”

“I thought that kind of life was over,” she said of the loss of a second husband.

The couple also had a son, Jason, now 26, who lives in Florida.

Miriam moved to Grand Junction in early 2005 when she said a friend told her about a possible job as a dance instructor.

One of her new students was recently widowed.

“I usually don’t associate or fraternize with students,” she said of her first lessons with Alan. “I guess he sort of grew on me a bit. Such a gentleman and very sweet.”

Alan and Miriam Helmick married in June 2006.

A businessman with a host of ventures between Grand Junction and Delta, Miriam says her husband was hard pressed to find time for one of his passions: golf.

Helmick’s golf clubs were leaned against a garage wall on Wednesday.

“He was kind of the big decision maker ... always had more logic than I did,” she said.

“I never saw a (business) situation where he couldn’t pull a rabbit out of a hat.”

Miriam said her husband was in Delta in late April — closing on a deal to sell his ownership share of a local title company — when somebody set fire to his Buick.

Delta and Mesa County authorities have declined comment on the incident, but suspect possible arson.

According to Miriam, she was inside a nearby building at the time her husband, in the car waiting, noticed something burning.

She said a “long thing with cotton-like stuff” had been shoved down the car’s gas tank and was smoldering, partially melting the gas cap.

“It was a full tank of gas in that car,” she said.

Alan Helmick ran inside a local business, dousing the car with cups of water.

The incident’s relationship — if any — to Helmick’s murder is unknown.

“It very well could be related, I don’t know,” she said. “I know he thought it was random.”

Who may have wanted to harm Alan Helmick?

“Anything like that is part of their investigation,” she said, declining to talk about possible motives.

She also knows she’s likely considered a suspect.

“I’m sure they probably do, but that’s just their job,” she said. “When they get to a point when they figure out what they’re going to do, they’ll let me know.”

June 10

Miriam said she left 34999 Siminoe Road around 8:15 to 8:30 a.m. on June 10, cash in hand from her husband for a shopping trip. Alan Helmick went to take a shower, she said.

“Everything was fine,” she said.

He was to meet her in Grand Junction for lunch at what they called the “pigsty” — a North Avenue Chinese restaurant.

She said she called him several times when he didn’t show.

“He didn’t call back, and I waited (at the restaurant) then I came home,” she said. “That’s when I found him and it all went downhill from there.”

Sheriff’s deputies around noon were called on a reported possible robbery at the residence — radio dispatch traffic described someone attempting to resuscitate Alan Helmick.

Despite the robbery reports, Miriam Helmick declined to talk about the house’s condition.

“My first concern was him,” she said.


One dead after robbery call near Whitewater

By Paul Shockley -

June 11, 2008

Mesa County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a 911 robbery call Tuesday at a home near Whitewater instead found an adult’s dead body.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin late Tuesday said it was too early to say whether investigators had a homicide or suicide, instead labeling it a “suspicious death investigation.”

Benjamin earlier Tuesday had called it homicide.

Authorities were called on a reported robbery at a residence, 34999 Siminoe Road, south of Whitewater around noon on Tuesday.

According to 911 dispatch radio traffic, someone at the home was attempting to resuscitate an “injured subject” as deputies were en route to the scene.

The adult — authorities confirmed little about the individual — was dead when law enforcement and fire personnel arrived.

The home is set back several hundred yards from U.S. Highway 50, near the Lands End Fire Department. Authorities had Siminoe Road blocked off most of the day from the highway.

According to Mesa County Assessor records, the home sits on 40 acres owned by Alan Helmick.

Helmick’s horse breeding business, Creek Ranch Sporthorse LLC, is operated out of the Siminoe Road home, according to state business records.

Helmick formed the company last August.



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