HELSLEY CONVICTED IN SLAYINGS – FACES POSSIBLE SENTENCE OF LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE — (The Evansville Courier)

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The Evansville Courier

June 22, 2002

Author: MARK WILSON, Courier & Press staff writer 464-7417 or mwilson@evansville.net

A doctor is expected to testify about Christopher Helsley’s mental state Monday as jurors begin considering his sentence for the killing of two co-workers.

The former Pike County paramedic was found guilty Friday of murdering two of his co-workers at the Pike County ambulance station last year.

Helsley, 24, who faces the possibility of life without parole, showed no emotion as Pike Circuit Court Judge Lee Baker read the guilty verdicts for the deaths of Brad Maxwell, 22, and Marsha Rainey, 44.

Rainey’s daughter, however, let out an audible sob when the verdict was read. Family and friends of both the victims and Helsley cried extensively. Two women had to eventually help Helsley’s mother leave the courtroom.

During Friday’s court proceedings, Helsley rarely looked at his 20-year-old wife, Misty Helsley. He did not look at her as deputies escorted him from the room.

Misty Helsley, who was called as a prosecution witness Wednesday, testified that her husband was home at 11 p.m. on April 18 and didn’t leave until he went to work the next morning. A forensic expert Thursday testified Maxwell and Rainey were killed between 10:30 p.m. April 18 and 5 a.m. April 19. The bodies were found around 7 a.m. April 19.

Misty Helsley also testified, however, that she saw her husband with the alleged murder weapon on April 18 — contradicting her husband’s testimony that the weapon was in pieces before the killings and that he had disposed of the barrel several weeks before.

Under questioning from Pike County Prosecutor Jeff Biesterveld, she told the jury she saw a complete weapon with no missing parts on April 18.

The jury, which was picked from Knox County but heard the case in Pike County, will begin deliberating a sentence recommendation at 8 a.m. Monday.

The jury took less than three hours to return a verdict Friday.

Defense attorney Michael Keating called one final witness Friday before final arguments.

James Gladish testified he drove by the Pike County EMS station between 10:30 and 11 p.m. on April 18 and saw a third vehicle, a dark-colored car, parked there with vehicles belonging to Rainey and Maxwell .

Biesterveld then introduced into evidence that Helsley drove a dark green Pontiac at the time of the slayings.

After court Friday, Biesterveld said he thought Helsley’s inconsistent statements about the gun and the testimony of Indiana State Police firearms expert Ed Wessel were important to clinching the guilty verdict.

In testifying on his own behalf Thursday, Helsley attributed his various statements about the gun to being scared and nervous about being a possible suspect.

Co-defense attorney Donald Vowels said Friday the defense plans to have a doctor testify about medications prescribed to Helsley, including Prozac.

“We didn’t put our client’s mental state at issue because it didn’t rise to the level of a legal defense,” Vowels said. “There was some question as to whether he was taking it as prescribed.”

Record Number: 0207210061
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