Helmick ‘crumbled’ after bogus threat, witness testifies

A distraught and visibly shaking Miriam Helmick did not reach out to law enforcement after she found a threatening greeting card tucked under the doormat at the front door of her home in Whitewater one evening in June 2008, according to testimony Monday.

Penny Lyons, who had allowed Helmick to stay at her home in days after Alan Helmick’s murder on June 10, 2008, testified Monday that Helmick trembled and “crumbled” in fear after she read a handwritten message on a card addressed to “the grieving widow.” The card read, “Allen was first — You’re next! Run! Run! Run!”

“I was terrified,” Lyons said, who was with Helmick the evening of June 26 when the card was found. “I didn’t know if someone was there watching us or waiting for Miriam to come to the front door.”

Lyons recalled she “swore at lot,” and the two of them ran back to her truck parked in the driveway. Helmick quickly retrieved her purse from an open garage, got inside Lyons’ truck and they sped away as Lyons reached for her cell phone to call 911.

Helmick told her not to call, Lyons testified.

“Peggy, please don’t second-guess me now,” Helmick explained, according to Lyons’ testimony.

They instead contacted Helmick’s attorney, who ended up handing the card over to investigations.

Helmick is seen on video surveillance on June 22 buying the same card at the Orchard Mesa City Market. The front of the greeting card quotes Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

During opening statements to the jury, Helmick’s defense acknowledged that she planted the card in an “error in judgment,” suggesting it was a misguided attempt to get the attention of investigators working Alan Helmick’s murder.

Prosecutors on Monday presented witnesses entering a third week in their case against Helmick, 52, who is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of her second husband, Alan.

Wendy Helmick was among several of Alan Helmick’s children who testified to an increasing inability to reach their father on his cell phone in the months leading up to his murder.

Wendy Helmick also testified to a conversation she had with her stepmother on June 17, during a family gathering after Alan Helmick’s funeral in Delta.

Miriam Helmick told her she believed a man they both knew, “Keith,” had committed the murder.

“I was appalled she was bringing up the issue at that time,” Wendy Helmick testified. “All she wanted to talk about was that she had no money, clothes, and nothing about my father.”


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