Jury: Helmick guilty of murder

For Alan Helmick’s daughters, Tuesday was less about closure than it was justice.

“It’s an end and beginning for us,” Portia Vigil, 38, said after sitting in on the reading of guilty verdicts Tuesday in the murder trial of 52-year-old Miriam Helmick.

“We can stop focusing on our fears, our own regrets,” she said.

Moments earlier, Vigil sat in District Judge Valerie Robison’s courtroom, nervously clenching a tissue as the judge waited for the jury. The reading of the verdicts brought tears for Vigil, while the woman convicted in the June 10, 2008, slaying of 64-year-old Alan Helmick sat expressionless, staring at the judge.

Deliberation started around 9:30 a.m. Around 3 p.m. Helmick’s jury returned guilty verdicts on charges of first-degree murder; attempted murder for trying to blow up her husband’s car 40 days before he was shot in the head; 10 counts of forgery; one count of false reporting to authorities; and one count of committing a crime of violence.

Helmick was acquitted on a lone charge of forgery related to a $5,000 check drawing on Alan Helmick’s bank account on Feb. 14, 2008.

Helmick will be sentenced today. State law leaves the judge with no discretion after the conviction on first-degree murder: She will get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle, who laid out the prosecution’s case over 13 days, praised the work of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, singling out efforts of lead investigator Jim Hebenstreit.

Tuttle, however, was reserved in his take on the woman he helped lock up.

“I don’t think she’s mentally ill,” Tuttle said. “I don’t know what her issues are.”

Alan Helmick’s children are still guessing.

“The things she says are beyond my understanding,” said Wendy Helmick, 33.

Several members of the Helmick clan are expected to confront their father’s second wife during today’s sentencing hearing. Portia Vigil said Miriam Helmick will hear about a father with a “goofy” sense of humor, loyal to his family and friends, while dealt a harsh blow with the sudden death of his first wife, Sharon, in December 2003.

The loss left him vulnerable, they said.

“I’m going to tell her what she took from our family, our family name,” said Kristy Helmick-Burd, 32, Alan Helmick’s youngest daughter.

“My biggest question for her is why she would choose someone with three strong daughters?” Vigil said. “She thinks we’d just let it be?”


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