New Trial Hearing Underway for Dale Helmig in Missouri
In 1996, Dale Helmig was convicted of killing his mother Norma and dumping her body in the Osage River. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. In 2005, Dale's habeas petition was granted (opinion here), only to be later reversed by the 8th Circuit which reinstated his murder conviction.
Hearings are underway this week in Missouri to determine whether Dale finally will get a new trial. Yesterday, the trooper testified his testimony at the original trial was inaccurate. Other claims to be heard this week: Whether the prosecutor Kenny Hulshof, who later became a U.S. Congressman, withheld evidence from Helmig's attorneys and presented false testimony. The hearing continues today.
Whether Dale is factually innocent and the victim of a wrongful conviction, caused by a combination of a biased and sloppy police investigation, a politically over-zealous prosecutor and an ineffective defense attorney, has been the subject of numerous documentaries and television shows. Since I spent weeks filming the first documentary, I have a strong interest in the case and strong opinions. [More...]
I was a part of the first documentary questioning his conviction made for TNT which aired in 2000, Was Justice Denied? We went to Missouri. My "co-star" was a former prosecutor from Illinois, Charlie Stone. We met with Dale in prison, interviewed the ex-prosecutor, then-Congressman Kenny Hulshof, co-proseuctor Robert Schollmeyer, the Judge, Dale's original defense counsel, his appellate counsel and Dale's family, including his father who some consider an alternate suspect, his brother Richard, Dale's ex-wife and more. A case overview is here.
We re-investigated the crime scene , visited Norma's house and Ted's house and the places they frequented, reviewed all the court transcripts and most of us involved with the production (I'm not sure about Charlie) concluded Dale was innocent.
John Walsh of America's Most Wanted, who normally is going after bad guys, did a show dedicated to Dale's innocence. Student filmmakers at Illinois State University made the third film, A Matter of Innocence. It was the students' film that led to the discovery of new evidence and the granting of the habeas claim.
I hope this time Dale gets the new trial he deserves.
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