Death of Helmick’s first husband ruled off-limits for her murder trial

The jury in the murder trial next month of former Whitewater resident Miriam Helmick will not hear testimony about the death of her first husband in Florida.

In a series of rulings on Monday, District Judge Valerie Robison suggested Mesa County prosecutors have presented more opinion than fact in claiming that Helmick killed 46-year-old Jack Giles at the former couple’s Jacksonville home in April 2002.

“Little, if anything, other than argument was presented to indicate the Defendant may have contributed to the death of Mr. Giles, or as asserted by the People murdered Jack Giles,” Robison said in her ruling.

“Based upon all the evidence before the Court, the Court does not find by preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Giles was murdered and that Defendant committed the crime.”

Robison noted in the ruling that Jack Giles’ biological son was at the family’s home at the time of his father’s death the morning of April 15, 2002.

Giles’ death was ruled suicide by Jacksonville sheriff’s investigators. They stand by their findings, the head of investigations told The Daily Sentinel in August.

Miriam Helmick, 52, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder, among other counts, in the shooting death of her second husband, Alan Helmick, on June 10, 2008, at their former home in Whitewater.

Her trial is scheduled for five weeks starting Nov. 9.

Mesa County prosecutors had sought to introduce evidence of Giles’ death, arguing it showed a pattern of behavior. Prosecutors have alleged that Alan Helmick for months was unaware his wife had forged thousands of dollars in checks from his bank accounts, and that Miriam Helmick kept him isolated from family and business associates before finally killing him when her schemes were about to be exposed.

They also questioned the extent to which Jacksonville authorities investigated Giles’ death, and have suggested the probe was tainted from the start.

Mesa County sheriff’s investigator Jim Hebenstreit testified at a motions hearing earlier this month that J.P. Morgan, a sheriff’s deputy with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department, was among the first on the scene to investigate Giles’ death in 2002.

Morgan, who is still with the Florida department, is Miriam Helmick’s brother.

Hebenstreit and prosecutors have questioned the physical evidence at the scene of Giles’ death. He died of a gunshot wound to the head, lying in bed next to his wife, Miriam Morgan Giles.

Jack Giles, predominantly left-handed, was found clutching a revolver in his right hand and with his right arm lying across his chest.

Giles’ right thumb was still in the gun’s trigger guard.

“According to law enforcement authorities who routinely investigate suicides, this is an extremely unorthodox, if not extremely difficult, way to commit suicide,” prosecutors wrote in a motion filed in August.

Miriam Giles married Alan Helmick in June 2006.


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