Dale Helmig: 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 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.

The prosecutor in Dale’s case was Republican former Congressman Kenny Hulshof, who unsuccessfully ran for Governor last year. An issue was made in the campaign of numerous questionable homicide convictions when he was a prosecutor and Dale’s was one of them.

This will be the third feature show/film on Dale’s case. The first was a TNT documentary in 2000, Was Justice Denied? in which a former prosecutor and I spent weeks in Missouri re-investigating the crime, interviewing witnesses, family members, the Judge, defense lawyer and yes, even Hulshof.

The second, and far more comprehensive one, was by “A Matter of Innocence: The Story of Dale Helmig,” by the Innocence Project of Missouri.

I hope the third time’s a charm, and AMW is able to attract the attention of someone who might have knowledge that would prove Dale’s innocence. Some prior TalkLeft coverage is here.