A Hancock County Criminal Court jury that consisted of Hamblen County residents deliberated for four hours on Thursday before acquitting “Little Rick” Helmick of all homicide charges in the April 2016 execution-style shooting deaths of his father, “Big Rick” Helmick and his father’s girlfriend long-time girlfriend, Natasha Riley.
The jury convicted Helmick of the aggravated kidnapping of his grandmother, Bobbie Helmick, and felony theft for stealing his dead father’s pickup truck. Criminal Court Judge John F. Dugger Jr. is scheduled to sentence Helmick on Sept. 30.
He’ll face between eight and 12 years in state prison for the kidnapping, and he’ll have to serve 85 percent of the sentence before he’s parole-eligible. Tennessee felony theft laws have changed since Helmick took the truck, so it’s unclear which standard will apply.
The sentence could range between one and six years, but he’ll have an earlier release-eligibility on that part of the sentence if they’re stacked. The prosecution team seemed stunned.
“The jury reached a verdict and that’s their decision,” said District Attorney General Dan Armstrong.
For the reaction of Helmick’s lead attorney, Greg Eichelman, Third Judicial District public defender, read the Friday edition of the Citizen Tribune.