Jury selection began this morning in the first-degree, double-murder trial of Rick Helmick Jr., a Hancock County man accused of murdering his father and his father’s girlfriend, and then duct-taping his grandmother in the home with the dead bodies.
The trial was moved to Hamblen County because it could have been difficult to find impartial jurors in the high-profile, April 2016 double homicide, according to District Attorney General Dan Armstrong. .
The odds may be stacked against Helmick, 33, but he has very little to lose. If Helmick copped to first-degree murder, the best he would have gotten is life with parole, which means he would have marked his 80th birth anniversary in prison. If he’s convicted at trial, the most he gets is life without parole.
Armstrong filed a motion requesting that if Helmick is found guilty, the sentences for the two homicides and aggravated kidnapping be stacked.
Rick Helmick Sr., 57, and his live-in girlfriend, Natasha Riley, 37, were shot to death inside their residence on Blackwater Road in the Vardy community of Hancock County. Law enforcement officials say they have the murder weapon.
The elder Helmick took prescription drugs, which were lock-boxed at a bank. The defendant’s grandmother controlled access to the drugs. The day after he allegedly murdered his father and his girlfriend, the defendant used his dead father’s phone to contact his grandmother to request a drug delivery, authorities say.
The duct tape kept the woman restrained for about 35 minutes. She didn’t know her son was murdered until she wriggled free, authorities say.
Helmick fled the scene in his father’s pickup. He was arrested three days later in Morristown.