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.

Other questionable convictions of then prosecutor Kenny Hulshof are described here. More of our prior coverage of the case is here.

I hope this time Dale gets the new trial he deserves.

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    i have no idea (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 02:26:03 AM EST
    if mr. helmig is guilty or innocent. however, he is entitled to both compentent counsel and a fair trial, neither of which it appears he received.

    hopefully, this will soon be rectified.

    Amazing case! (none / 0) (#2)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:39:18 AM EST
    Having no knowledge of the case, my initial thought was about the husband who had just moved out.  Continuing reading, there he is, in a role one could assume to be a prime suspect!

    Have a real problem with those that take an oath to uphold the law who don't abide by their oath!  Immediately a red flag goes up as to the credibility of all prosecution evidence.

    Look forward to watching 'Was Justice Denied?'  

    The clothes he was wearing (none / 0) (#3)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:47:19 AM EST
    when he picked up his toileties and when the pizza was delivered - were they found with him and were they examined?  Was he still wearing the same clothing the next day when he discovered his mother's body? Were any of his clothing missing from his four day trip as he met with friends, etc., and his clothing should be easily established?

    Did his father know he was away for a few days?

    Guess I must watch the program to get the answer to my many questions!

    Broken legal system (none / 0) (#4)
    by Yes2Truth on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:47:56 AM EST

    Our country's legal system needs to be drastically reformed.  It's corrupt and unjust...from the street level (crooked cops) to the S.Ct., and everywhere in between.

    Neither civil nor criminal laws are neutral nor value free.  They are, in reality, inseparable from
    (right-wing) politics.