Petitioner Takes Stand in Hearing for New Trial
In 1996 Dale Helmig was convicted of killing his mother in Osage County. Three years later he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He's always claimed he is innocent.
In his original trial Helmig never took the stand. That all changed Thursday. In an evidentiary hearing that will determine whether Helmig will get a new trial, Helmig testified for the first time ever.
Dressed in khakis and a yellow polo, he appeared calm and collected throughout his three hour testimony.
"I loved her very much," Helmig said when asked about his relationship with his mother. "I didn't kill my mom."
The only time Helmig even raised his voice is when he was asked why he didn't get along with Osage County investigators back in 1993.
"They're letting the real killer run free and wasting their time looking at me," he said emphatically.
Defense attorneys are confident this week's hearing will lead to a new trial. They point to the new testimony, the fact there is no physical evidence and no eye witnesses as to why Helmig is innocent.
"I think we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel," his attorney Sean O'Brien said.
The original prosecuting attorney in the case was former Missouri congressman Kenny Hulshof. The current prosecutors denied to comment on this story.
They say that Helmig killed his mother after an argument about a $200 phone bill.
Helmig said after the hearing he was surprised the prosecution didn't ask him more questions.
"I thought they would grill me a lot harder. But then again, they never had anything to begin with."
A Dekalb County Judge is expected to make a ruling on the new trial by October 1.