Testimony: Helmick claimed several threats
In the days following her husband’s killing, Miriam Helmick told several people she feared for her life, believed someone was repeatedly prowling in and around her home and talked about setting booby traps, according to testimony Thursday in Helmick’s murder trial.
“She was worried people were following her,” testified Katie Turcott, 22, a longtime house sitter for the Helmicks.
Around the same period in June 2008, when Miriam Helmick claimed a threatening greeting card had turned up at her Whitewater home, prosecutors on Thursday suggested Helmick wanted anybody who’d listen to know she was in danger, and that her husband, Alan, was killed in a robbery on June 10, 2008.
“She said she almost wanted them to come back and finish the job, so it could be over,” Turcott told the jury.
Turcott testified the statement was made during a phone conversation on June 27. That was the same day Helmick called her attorney to report finding at her home a greeting card with a threatening message addressed to the “grieving widow.”
Helmick is seen on video surveillance on June 22 buying the card at Orchard Mesa’s City Market.
Turcott on Thursday testified Helmick told her the card was received in the mail. Helmick told others she found the card slipped under a doormat at her home.
Turcott testified Helmick offered the following chain of alleged strange happenings at her home: On June 23, Helmick reported “things had been moved around” while she wasn’t there; June 24, certain doors she knew had been locked were found unlocked; June 25, a door leading to a balcony was found open; June 26, she returned home to find the lights on in the master bathroom.
Turcott said Helmick told her she aimed to do something about it.
“She said she would place objects behind doors, so the objects would be moved if someone opened the doors,” Turcott testified, adding Helmick talked about putting powder by doorways, presumably an effort to snare a shoe print off the alleged intruders.
Miriam Helmick, 52, is on trial for first-degree murder in the June 10, 2008, shooting death of her husband, Alan, 64, at the couple’s home.
Testifying about a June 17 conversation in the Helmick home’s garage, Turcott described Helmick as laughing and concerned mainly about whether carrots in the trunk of her car would spoil after law enforcement had towed the vehicle away.
She also told several people she knew she was a suspect in Alan Helmick’s murder, Turcott testified.
“They (law enforcement) are not going to want to go up against me,” Helmick said, according to Turcott.
The jury also heard from Alan Helmick’s sister, Merrideth Helmick-Von Burg, who testified that Miriam Helmick arrived at her home June 10, hours after Alan Helmick’s murder. She stayed there three days.
Helmick said her husband died in a robbery, and two rings and a wristwatch were missing from a kitchen counter in the home, according to Helmick-Von Burg.
Miriam Helmick had reported walking into the home just before noon June 10, finding her husband shot on the floor and attempting to revive him by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. She immediately was removed from the home by Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputies and wasn’t allowed back inside until June 13, according to testimony
Prosecutors questioned how Miriam Helmick could have known what property was stolen before she was allowed back in the home.
Steve Colvin, Helmick’s public defender, told the jury that Helmick-Von Burg told investigators previously that Helmick’s statements about the jewelry were made after June 13.
Turcott, meanwhile, testified that Miriam Helmick told her several house keys were missing after the alleged June 10 robbery, and Helmick made no mention of jewelry.
Helmick-Von Burg said her sister-in-law denied involvement in Alan Helmick’s murder. Helmick-Von Burg said Miriam Helmick told her if she wanted to kill Alan, she had the perfect opportunity weeks before June 10, 2008.
“She said she could have done it at Lake Powell two weeks earlier and that Alan was not a great swimmer, ” Helmick-Von Burg testified. “She said she had to rescue him once before.”