After closing arguments, jury weighs Helmick’s fate
Prosecutors argued Monday that Miriam Helmick shot her husband in the head as a “gravy train” of lavish spending on her was coming to end, then spun a web of lies to cover her tracks.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Tammy Eret, the last lawyer to speak to the jury in Helmick’s murder trial after more than five hours of closing arguments, recounted testimony from Miriam Helmick’s son, Chris, who said his mother had told him she’d been “cleared” by Mesa County authorities when she left Whitewater to live with him in Florida in late summer 2008.
“If she can tell her son a story, what are you to her?” Eret asked the jury.
“Who believes her?”
Jurors this morning will start deliberations in Helmick’s murder trial.
During closing arguments, Eret mocked sections of Helmick’s testimony from Thursday and Friday, which differed significantly from a series of prosecution witnesses who testified to various statements made by Helmick before and after Alan Helmick’s slaying on June 10, 2008.
“She’s the unluckiest person in the world,” Eret said. “The list goes on, and on, and on about how many people were so confused about what she says.”
Earlier Monday during his closing, Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle recalled the scene of the crime at the Helmick home, where Miriam Helmick called 911, reporting she found her husband shot around noon June 10 in what she described as a burglary.
An FBI crime scene expert testified the scene was staged at the home, while the staging of a crime scene almost always reflects a relationship between victim and murderer.
During her frantic 911 call on June 10, Miriam Helmick is heard telling the dispatcher that nobody else was in the home, but added, “I haven’t been in any other rooms.”
“How could she know she was alone unless she was the killer?” Tuttle asked.
Helmick, 52, is charged with first-degree murder in her husband’s death. She’s also charged with attempted murder related to a car fire in Delta on April 30, 2008, and 11 counts of forgery.
Helmick, who was told at one point on June 10 during the 911 phone call to blow a hole through the blood clogged in Alan Helmick’s throat, emerged from the scene with only a speck of blood on her clothing. Prosecutors have suggested she never attempted CPR.
During her direct testimony, Miriam Helmick said she had injured an arm during an ATV accident and was unable to properly complete chest compressions as required during CPR.
Helmick mentioned nothing about the injury to law enforcement prior to her testimony Thursday, Tuttle said.
Pathologist Dr. Robert Kurtzman testified earlier he believes no attempt was made to revive Alan Helmick, and there was no evidence of blood smear from someone manipulating his head to perform CPR.
Tuttle also addressed the April 30, 2008, fire in Delta that damaged the rear of Alan Helmick’s car. He wasn’t injured. Miriam Helmick told law enforcement she was at the back at the trunk, which was up, just before the fire.
There were no witnesses to the blaze.
“To believe that anybody else set this fire belies common sense,” Tuttle told the jury. “If there’s a bad guy out there, where is he or she hiding? What are they waiting for? Someone to pop the trunk on Alan’s car, so he can’t see it, on Main Street in Delta in broad daylight?
“Does that make any sense?”
Steve Colvin, Helmick’s attorney, told the jury his client was a victim of law enforcement, which ignored all evidence suggesting someone other than Miriam Helmick could have been involved in her husband’s murder.
Viewed through the prosecution’s eyes, otherwise small things were evidence of guilt, Colvin said.
“In a nutshell, they presented evidence that she doesn’t cry enough, she must be guilty,” he said. “She wore a black dress with roses on it to her wedding, so she must be a murderer.”
Colvin took specific aim at the prosecution’s physical evidence against Helmick.
Prosecutors offered testimony suggesting Alan Helmick in 2004 had a handgun that may have been the same firearm used in his murder. A Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent testified that gunshot residue was found on the shoes Miriam Helmick was wearing on June 10, 2008, as well as inside the car she had driven that morning.
No gunshot residue was found on her hands, face, or the shirt and blue jeans she was wearing that day.
Colvin suggested Helmick may have come into contact with the residue while kneeling next to her husband after finding him wounded. Colvin also noted that Helmick’s vehicle was towed for evidence examination.
“There’s nothing to disprove the idea that it came from law enforcement,” Colvin said of the residue found on the car’s steering wheel.