Tag: Dale Helmig

Mo. Governor Commutes Death Sentence

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has commuted the death sentence of Richard Clay. Clay is another defendant prosecuted by former Congressman Ken Hulshof.

Nixon was Missouri's Attorney General before becoming Governor. He's a staunch advocate of the death penalty. In the 2008 Governor's race, his opponent was...Ken Hulshof. Yet, Nixon said Hulshof was not a factor in the commutation decision.

Hulshof should have been a factor. In 2009, Josh Kezer was released from prison after serving 17 years, half of his life, in prison. He's another case of wrongful conviction prosecuted by Hulshof. In 2008, the Missourian described six more cases. [More...]

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Mo. Judge Rules Dale Helmig Innocent After 17 Years in Prison

A Missouri judge today found Dale Helmig innocent of killing his mother in 1993, a crime for which he has served 17 years in prison. The ruling follows a week-long hearing in July on whether Dale should receive a new trial.

DeKalb County Senior Judge Warren McElwain ruled that Helmig "established his innocence by clear and convincing evidence." He called Helmig, who was convicted in 1996 of killing his mother three years earlier in central Missouri's Osage County, a "victim of manifest injustice."

This one is personal for me, since I spent more than a week in Missouri interviewing Dale Helmig, his family, witnesses, the judge, prosecutors and Dale's trial and appellate defense counsel, for a 2000 TNT movie about his case, Was Justice Denied?. We also conducted our own investigation of the facts and reviewed all of the trial transcripts. I've continued to follow the case through its ups and downs here on TalkLeft. [More...]

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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...]

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America's Most Wanted to Feature Innocence Case

Kenny Hulsof Dale Helmig
(Former Congressman and state proseuctor Kenny Hulsof and Dale Helmig)

Don't miss America's Most Wanted on Fox this Saturday Night. Instead of trying to find a murderer, this time the show is trying to free a wrongly convicted one.

“America’s Most Wanted,” scheduled for broadcast at 8 p.m. Saturday on KQFX-TV (Fox 38), will devote an hour to the investigation and trial of Helmig, now 53, who in 1996 was convicted of murdering his mother. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The show is designed to capture bad people and put them away,” said producer Dave Bolton. “This case jumped to our attention because it looked like a huge miscarriage of justice because the bad guy who did the crime was still out there and the innocent guy was put in prison for a crime he did not commit.”

Helmig was convicted of killing his mother. The evidence against him, all circumstantial, was beyond thin. His conviction was overturned in a federal habeas petition (opinion here), but the state appealed. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Dale's conviction and the Supreme Court denied cert. He remains in prison today, having served 12 years of a sentence to life without parole.[More...]

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