Gunpowder in HelmickĀ’s car, on shoes, agent testifies

A Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent testified Tuesday that gunshot residue was found inside a car that Miriam Helmick had driven the morning her husband was killed, and that it was found on the shoes she wore that day.

CBI agent Carol Crowe, however, told jurors in Miriam Helmick’s murder trial that no gunshot residue was found on her hands, face or a shirt and blue jeans that were collected by law enforcement after Helmick’s first interview with investigators on June 10, 2008.

After the prosecution and defense questioned the agent, Crowe was asked by a juror whether she expected to find traces of residue on the clothing of someone who had recently fired a weapon inside a home.

“Certainly, that’s a possibility,” Crowe said.

The tiny particles of gunpowder are easily removed by washing hands, or can simply be brushed away, Crowe testified.

The gunshot residue was found on a pair of clogs that Helmick had on her feet on June 10, 2008, as well as inside an Oldsmobile Cutlass that Helmick said she used to run a series of errands that morning after she left the couple’s home in Whitewater around 8:15 a.m.

Alan Helmick, 64, was shot in the back of the head in the home’s kitchen that day in what his wife claimed to be a robbery gone bad.

The presence of gunshot residue on an item means the item was nearby when a firearm was discharged, or the item was in contact with another item that had residue on it, Crowe said.

Crowe testified that science can’t determine how long gunshot residue has been on a specific item.

Crowe’s testimony came on the fourth day of the prosecution’s case against Helmick, 52, who is charged with first-degree murder, among other counts, in her husband’s death.

Prosecutors earlier in the day presented Barbara Watts of Gulfport, Miss., the former owner of dance studios in Mississippi and Grand Junction. Watts helped Miriam Helmick relocate from Gulfport to Grand Junction in January 2005. Watts testified that Helmick, one of Watts’ dance instructors, was paid to train staff at Watts’ Grand Junction dance studio.

Watts said Helmick arrived in Grand Junction with suitcases, a pair of dogs, several hundred dollars in cash and a credit card to pay rent.

Within a month, Helmick was dating one of her dance students, Alan Helmick, Watts testified.

By Valentine’s Day, Helmick had moved into her future husband’s home in Delta, while Alan Helmick was telling her about plans to build another home in Whitewater.

Watts testified she ended up firing Helmick in March 2005 for dating Alan Helmick in what Watts said was a violation of her school’s policies.

Watts told investigators that staff at the Mississippi school recalled Helmick telling them about her ambitions to find a “sugar daddy.”

“It ended up being a joke around the school,” Watts testified. “She said she wanted to find a rich man, and that it didn’t matter if he had a foot in grave, she just wanted someone to take care of her like she was used to.”

Miriam and Alan Helmick married in June 2006.


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