Life plus 108 years for Helmick

Before leaving the courtroom, Wendy Helmick, right, hugs her friend Amanda Weber after Wednesday’s sentencing of her stepmother Miriam Helmick to life in prison without parole in the death of Wendy’s father Alan.

Alan Helmick’s daughter Portia Vigil, center, addresses the court in her victim’s statement as her sister Kristy Helmick-Burd, left, and husband Josh Vigil listen during Miriam Helmick’s sentencing Wednesday. Miriam Helmick received life in prison without parole for the murder of her husband Alan, and numerous consecutive sentences for other offenses that a jury found her guilty of on Tuesday.

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.


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