Desire to dance may have cost man his life

Widow taught husband-to-be, now is accused of his murder

Alan Helmick was a natural athlete who played college baseball and had a solid golf game.

His decision, though, to learn to dance after the death of his wife of 36 years put him in contact with the woman who authorities say killed him.

Helmick died June 10 of a gunshot wound to the head that was reported to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department by his onetime dance instructor and wife of less than two years, Miriam.

Miriam Giles Helmick remains in the Duval County, Fla., jail in lieu of $2 million bond.

Miriam Helmick faces charges in Colorado of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and 11 forgery counts. Arrangements are being made for her return to Colorado.

Helmick “was trying to get a new lease on life,” after his first wife, Sharon, died, said Dennis Edson, a longtime business associate and friend of Helmick in Grand Junction.

One of the things on Helmick’s “bucket list,” was to learn to dance, Edson said. “And that’s when he met Miriam.”

Helmick and Miriam Giles met in 2005 at Amour Danzar.

Amour Danzar owner Barb Watts, who recruited Miriam Giles to be a dance instructor at Watts’ Gulfport, Miss., dance studio, sent Giles to Grand Junction to train the staff at Watts’ Grand Junction studio.

Giles asked to be sent to Grand Junction, Watts said.

“She begged me to send her,” Watts said. “She was very persuasive.”

Giles signed a standard contract not to fraternize with customers, and Helmick similarly agreed not to date the dance instructors.

“We had several discussions on that,” Watts said.

Still, “It didn’t take her long to get her claws into him,” she said.

Watts also spoke with Helmick about his promise not to date the help, but “he was really in love with her,” Watts said.

Helmick and Giles married on June 24, 2006, and they opened their own dance studio, Dance Junction.

“There was nothing at all to make you cast any suspicion or doubts” about the relationship, said another Helmick friend and business associate, Ken Rabideau.

Rabideau and Edson were stunned to learn of Helmick’s death.

“It came as a great surprise when we found out he was murdered,” Edson said. “He wasn’t the type of guy I would have thought had enemies.”

Authorities responded to a call of a possible robbery at Helmick’s Whitewater home, 34999 Siminoe Road, where they found Helmick dead with a gunshot wound to the head. The Mesa County Coroner’s Office ruled it a homicide.

The arrest affidavit in the case remained sealed Tuesday.

Miriam Helmick’s previous husband, Jack Giles, died of a gunshot wound to the head on April 15, 2002, in Jacksonville. She reported finding Jack Giles dead, and authorities ruled his death a suicide

Investigators from Mesa County are in Florida and likely will return in the next few days, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said.


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