In August of 2000 twenty-three year old Amy Giles died in Jacksonville Florida. Amy was the daughter of Jacksonville residents Miriam and Jack Giles. A year and a half later Jack would also die in April of 2002. While I could not definitely determine how Amy had died, Jack's cause of death was a gunshot wound to his head while laying in his bed. Laying next to him was his wife, Miriam. She would tell investigators that Jack had never gotten over the death of their daughter and had suffered from depression. The gun used was said to be one that Jack kept in his nightstand drawer. The gun was found in his hand and it appears that little else was looked at, or collected as would be in a normal crime scene. Jack's death would be ruled a suicide.
Miriam apparently stayed in Florida for at least a while because in 2004 she pleaded guilty to charges related to a “counterfeit check scheme.” It does not seem to have been too serious considering she only spent three days in jail. Sometime after this she would move from Florida to Whitewater Colorado after a friend told her about a place hiring for dance instructors. Now, to be clear, I never found anything that said she had any particular talent in this area or that she had done it before so moving may have just been a way to get out of Florida and possibly more trouble, although I cannot state that as a fact. However, she did apparently get the job as a dance instructor and it was there that she met Alan Helmick.
Alan's wife had died in December of 2003 of cancer and they had two grown daughters. Alan lived in a spacious 3,200 square foot home on a forty acre farm that had horses. Later friends of Miriam's would claim that Alan was just the sort of man she was looking for.... a man with money. It appears that Miriam and Alan would marry sometime in 2006.
It appears that in the beginning no one seemed to see any problems with the couple being together. That could be for a few reasons. First, you have to remember few people likely knew Miriam prior to her arrival in Colorado so any information they knew about her would have come from her. That means she was able to pick and choose, if she chose to let people know things about her life. It seems probably unlikely that no on knew anything about the counterfeit charges. Secondly, from everything that I researched it appears that Alan and his first wife were very close and her death was devastating to him, as would be expected. It is likely that friends and family were just glad to see him happy. Over the next two years though it seems that things would change. It suddenly seemed that he was being shut out from his friends and family, including his daughters. It was so bad that Miriam would carry Alan's cell phone in her purse and would return messages left to him, herself. Just exactly what was going on with Alan was unclear. Some reports stated that for several months he was nearly bedridden, although there seemed to be no reason for it. However, that does not seem to be the case anyway because in April of 2008 he was apparently driving Miriam somewhere.
The couple got to their destination and Miriam was going in but apparently asked Alan to pop the trunk for her before she headed inside. While Alan sat outside in the car waiting on his wife, his car caught fire. An investigation showed that a wick of some sort had been lit and shoved into the gas tank of the car. There was obviously an investigation into what happened and it is clear that Miriam was the prime suspect. Prosecutors would later say that when she had Alan open the truck she placed the wick into the tank herself. It seems by my research there was enough evidence to prove this but just how soon that was discovered is unclear. I also found nothing about what Alan thought about it but considering some forty days later Miriam was still living in the home with Alan I have to gander to guess he did not believe his wife was involved.
Then on June 10 2008 Miriam made a 911 call. She would tell authorities that she had come home to find her husband seemingly dead in their kitchen. She would theorize to investigators that her husband was a victim of a robbery. Authorities thought differently. Alan was found dead on his kitchen floor with a gunshot wound to his head and so the investigation began.
Authorities would discover that for nearly a year Miriam had been forging checks and draining money out of Alan's bank account. They found that between June of 2007 and May of 2008 Miriam had written eleven checks to herself. These checks came to about $16,000. Investigators would also learn that within the two months leading to Alan's murder there were searches made on the home computer relating to “Viagra overdose,” “Ambien overdose,” and “buy purple foxglove.” For those who do not know, and trust me I was one of them, purple foxglove is a poison. Now of course remember Alan had been shot, not poisoned, and no poison was found in his body. It also seems that after Alan's death Miriam had “sold some property” (nothing I found was specific) and had given his daughters nothing. It was not clear exactly the reasoning behind things but on July 18th, just a month or so after Alan's murder, Alan's daughter was granted “emergency” legal rights over her fathers estate and finances.
But, it seems that once again Miriam had moved. This in and of itself is why I mentioned earlier that I suspect that Miriam had originally left Florida for Colorado to possibly avoid any other legal issues from her previous counterfeit check issues. She ended up going back to Jacksonville and apparently living with her son. It appears though that investigators knew this and were keeping an eye on her while they were gathering evidence in their case involving Alan.... both his murder, and his apparent attempted murder.
On December 8, 2008 Jacksonville Florida police would pull Miriam over in a traffic stop and arrested for the charges in relation to Colorado. When she was stopped officers found several pieces of identification on Miriam belonging to Sharon Helmick.... Alan's deceased wife. They would also apparently cease a computer that either belonged to Miriam or that they knew she was using at her son's home. They would say that they found over thirty pictures of various driver's licenses (although specifics were unclear), a copy of a social security card and even a file with clip art to forge a marriage certificate. It was said they also found several websites that she had joined dating sites and had misrepresented herself but had also contacted several men through them. It appeared to authorities she was “on the prowl” again looking for her next husband, or as they likely saw it... victim.
Miriam would be charged with murder in the first degree, attempted murder and ten counts of forgery. Jacksonville also apparently reopened the case of her first husband, and while it was not stated for certain, it is also likely that they at least investigated the issues involving identity theft. As far as Jack Giles' death it appears that nothing could be proven that his death was anything more than a suicide, although in fairness, it appears that this may have been more in the way of how the original case was handled and closed, preventing a good new investigation, but I cannot be certain. It does not seem that Jacksonville ever pressed charges relating to any identity theft although it seems clear that they had the evidence. This is likely due to the fact that Colorado had her on much more serious charges and to prosecute would have likely been a waste of time and money.
Miriam's trial began on November 9, 2009 and while there seemed to be very little information about specifics aside from the fact that her son testified against her (although I cannot tell you what he contributed), the jury would find her guilty on all charges. On December 9, 2009, a year and a day after her arrest, Miriam was sentenced to life without parole plus 108 years. If you do a search of your own you may find something that says she was given an additional 198 years and not 108 but that seemed untrue based on appeal papers and calculations. The life without parole was obviously from the first degree murder charge. She also received forty-eight years for the attempted murder charge. When it came to the ten forgery charges she was given a sentence that read “3-3” which I did not then, nor can I completely explain now. But what I can tell you is that if you add the forty-eight and then multiply the thirty years by two on the counts of forgery you come to a total of 108 years. In a 2013 appeal that eventually upheld the conviction and sentence the total of 108 years was also mentioned.
Today Miriam remains in the Colorado Department of Corrections and due to the sentence she has no parole date. It is likely she will remain in prison until she dies.