‘Look of hate’ shook suspect’s housekeeper

Woman accused in husband's death was obviously angry before murder, employee testifies

A longtime housekeeper of Alan and Miriam Helmick’s said the normally chatty couple was anything but on the day before Alan Helmick’s murder, adding, “You could cut the tension with a knife.”

Patricia Erikson, who had cleaned various properties owned by Alan Helmick since 2004, testified Friday that something was wrong in the couple’s Whitewater home on June 9, 2008. Sitting at a desk, Miriam Helmick had a “look of hate and anger” on her face that Erikson said she won’t soon forget.

“I can still see that look,” she testified.

Erikson said she went to the home June 9, which wasn’t her regular cleaning day, because the Helmicks were expecting guests. Erikson said Alan and Miriam Helmick walked into the house together while Erikson was in the middle of her work. They said next to nothing, Erikson said.

“It was very strange from the time they walked in the door,” she said. “It didn’t appear that (Alan) wanted to talk.”

Steve Colvin, Miriam Helmick’s public defender, suggested Erikson’s account of the couple’s demeanor on June 9 had shifted over the past year. When interviewed a week after Alan Helmick’s murder, Colvin noted that Erikson said nothing to an investigator about Miriam Helmick having a foul glare on June 9.

“You don’t think your memory could have been affected by all you’ve heard and seen in the media?” Colvin said.

“No,” Erikson replied.

Miriam Helmick, 52, is on trial for first-degree murder and is accused of shooting her husband in the back of the head at the family’s home on June 10, 2008.

According to Miriam Helmick’s arrest affidavit, investigators found evidence inside the Helmicks’ home of a staged crime scene, and the jury on Friday viewed some of the crime-scene photos.

With narration from Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent Barry Shearer, the jury was shown a series of photos of a kitchen and office area where Alan Helmick, 64, was found lying on his back in a pool of blood. Several drawers in Alan Helmick’s desk are opened, but the contents of the drawers are undisturbed. A trash can is dumped over near Alan Helmick’s body. Inches away, his wallet is sitting on the floor.

Shearer testified that a china cabinet in the living room was undisturbed. A jewelry box on a master bedroom dresser appears opened and its contents missing. Nearby, in the master bathroom, jewelry sits in plain view, undisturbed, in another jewelry box.

Six firearms, many of them rifles, were found in several locations in the home. Three of the rifles were in plain view on a downstairs bed, although Shearer said he was not sure whether law enforcement had placed the weapons on the bed.

Miriam Helmick reported finding her husband shot just before noon on June 10, 2008, in what she repeatedly told 911 dispatchers appeared to be a robbery at the home.


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