Murder suspect Helmick expected to testify today

Prosecution has rested case, but assistant DA expected to cross-examine

Miriam Helmick on Wednesday told a judge she will testify in her own defense.

Helmick, 52, was advised of her rights Wednesday afternoon, shortly after prosecutors rested their case around 3 p.m., after 13 days of witness testimony.

Today’s testimony is scheduled to begin around 10 a.m., with Helmick expected to be on the witness stand in the morning.

Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle is expected to cross-examine Helmick.

Helmick’s statements came after District Judge Valerie Robison denied a defense motion for acquittal on all charges.

Helmick is charged with first-degree murder in the June 10, 2008, shooting death of her husband, Alan, as well as counts of attempted murder and 11 counts of forgery.

Prosecutors on Wednesday capped their case with testimony from FBI agent Bob Morton, who testified he believes a crime scene at the Helmick home was staged. Miriam Helmick reported finding her husband shot around noon June 10, telling law enforcement and others there had been a burglary.

The staging of a crime scene, “almost always reflects some type of relationship between the victim and the offender,” Morton said. Morton characterized the scene stager’s efforts at the Helmick home as “juvenile,” and the product of someone who never committed a burglary.

Prosecutors returned inside the Helmick home with a series of photos from a kitchen-office area, where Alan, 64, was found lying in a pool of blood. Several desk drawers were pulled open, nearly all at the same length, but the contents of drawers were otherwise undisturbed. Alan Helmick’s wallet, with credit cards still in it, was on the floor, a few feet away from his body.

“I find it incredible that someone taking the time to rifle through drawers would pull them all out to the same length,” Morton told the jury.

Several computers, firearms and prescription drugs, among other items usually of value to a burglar, were undisturbed in various locations inside the home.

“Is it normal for burglars to carry firearms?” Tuttle asked.

“Actually, it’s very unusual,” Morton replied.

Of the 14,189 murders recorded in the United States in 2008 in the FBI’s annual crime report, 87 of the slayings also involved a burglary, Morton testified.

“How many people are killed by lightning each year?” Tuttle asked.

“Approximately, less than 100 per year,” Morton answered.

The agent was qualified by Robison as an expert in crime-scene analysis.


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