Michael Helms, 16, of Mesa Kills Mom as Friend Watches; Stepdad Escapes Attack

Categories: Death Valley

helms-and-blakely-suspects.jpg
Michael Roy Helms and Christian Lee Blakely
A 16-year-old boy described by a classmate as a "giant teddy" allegedly beat and choked his mom to death on Saturday morning, then attacked his stepdad.

Michael Roy Helms and his accomplice, 17-year-old Christian Lee Blakely, were being held on $1 million bonds and charged as adults by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Blakely's accused of watching his friend kill Helms' mother, Tina Helms Spencer, then helping clean up the blood and dispose of her body in a backyard shed.

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Police learned that Helms had been grounded and had argued with his mother earlier -- nothing out of the ordinary for a teenager. Hanging out with Blakely early Saturday morning, Helms told his friend of his plan "and provided [Blakely] with instructions to help him.

The two Gilbert High School students waited for Spencer to arrive at the house in the 2100 block of East Juanita, near Gilbert Road, the only home Helms had ever known. As Blakely "stood in the dark," Helms hit her with a frying pan and hammer, then "choked her in a rage," records state.

Helms handed Blakely his mom's foot, but Blakely dropped it. Yet he followed his friend outside as Helm dragged the dead woman by her legs into the shed. They used a mop and gloves for the cleanup.

Blakely apparently left at that point while Helms waited for his stepfather to come home. It's unclear just when Tina Helms Spencer was murdered. Helms' stepfather arrived just before 4 a.m. and was assaulted. Helms hit the man over the head with the frying pan, punched him, and choked him. But the stepfather escaped the home with relatively minor injuries and contacted police.

Both kids confessed to everything, and their stories matched, Mesa police say.

One TV station interviewed on Monday a schoolmate of Helms' who said the 6-foot-6-inch, 250-pound teen was a "giant teddy" and "stand-up guy." Both teens had aspirations to go into the military.

A box marked "mentally disturbed" was checked by police on Helms' booking sheet, but not on Blakely's.



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50 comments
tawnie_fresh
tawnie_fresh

I had two classes with Micheal Helms this year and sat next to him in both, right before he killed his mom.. its mindblowing.

irabohmsanchez
irabohmsanchez

"Both teens had aspirations to go into the military."

If they had only waited a few years, they'd be praised as heroes by the same people demonizing them for doing essentially the same thing in a different place and time. 

Alex Tropp
Alex Tropp

Wow, idiotic comments à gogo - starting with the administrator's brainless lead-in on this post.

Alex Tropp
Alex Tropp

Question from a European socialist: Is "sharing information" how Dems refer to the ballooning totalitarian surveillance culture the NSA is imposing on the entire world?

Amy Bright-Huerta
Amy Bright-Huerta

mentally disturbed and then some. sounds premeditated and how could his friend be ok with this and agree? what is wrong with these kids? completely disturbing.

Lucia Perry
Lucia Perry

Reactionary Republicns pretend thy are all for mental health care rather than gun control yet they are against sharing information.

JaCinda Crawford
JaCinda Crawford

You are right marco, it is 1st degree murder. No diagnosis would lessen the severity of this horrible act, nor should it impact justice being served. However some of us strive to prevent murderous acts by treating those who would commit them. I just don't agree to throwing away the remaining human being like a broken bottle.

Marco Cruz
Marco Cruz

Fuck you all and this insanity bullshit along with the mental health not being there cop-out. These kids planned this, then waited in shadows to kill the mother, that is not a sign of someone who needs group therapy or a learning disability. First degree murder, fool.

robert_graham
robert_graham

That fat slob Helms and his dumbass friend will rot in jail.  How long do you think it will take before Blakeley becomes somebody's bitch?  Those hungry inmates are waiting for him to arrive?

Edlih Ann Gallardo
Edlih Ann Gallardo

He could work a night shift. I used to come home at 6am, after working two jobs...I think the friend was just as terrified for his own life. We will have to wait and see...so sad

Caroline Maul
Caroline Maul

We need to reopen the mental institutions and asylums and make sure they are properly funded. No reason to put disturbed ppl down like dogs...it would be abused to the point of what goes on in China, and that isn't humane by any measure. To even get your kid into forced institutionalization at PCH, takes an act of Congress, literally. Sometimes your kids's first sign of violence becomes the last, when it results in murder. But by that time, it's too late for the child. This is really a pity that all the Dudley Do Rights in this country who screamed and yelled for deinstutionalization and community integration will either stick their heads into the sand over a story like this, or call upon for this kid's immediate death, instead of actually doing the best proactive thing that should have never been taken away from society as their fundamental right to live in a safe community, and that was to force the closure of hundreds of institutions and asylums across the country. Bring back the institutions and asylums, but make them better funded so they look nicer and have the best quality therapuetic services. Not everyone can be successfully integrated into the community, and many who can be, require the highest level of care and therapy available.

Caroline Maul
Caroline Maul

JaCinda and Brennan, you make the most sensible points on this topic so far. I worked in the behavioral health field long enough to know that releasing everyone from the state mental hospitals was the wrong thing to do. If anything, the criteria to place a child or adult should have been made more stringent and more money funneled in to make these hospitals look more presentable as a home, as well as better services. Not everyone should be assimilated into community integration. Too many are way too violent to be out in the community. This kid was a 6'6 red head who was also bullied at school, so apparently he was never the aggressive type if other kids could bully him w/o any reprisal. So obviously, he was cognitively challenged. He even did ROTC, but appears that didn't work out, probably because of his cognitive delays and mental state. And when things come to head with such a big guy, if you are the little guy, you tremble and become frozen in fear, which explains why the other kid was too frightened to run. I also worked with dual diagnosed adults with DD. I had a grown man, about the same height as this red headed kid, who had autism and SMI. When he was brought out into the community, he always wanting to attack other ppl in the community, including children if he was to become annoyed. Just by his size alone, he was incredibly intimidating. One day while out with him in my group, he began to attack me, but I managed to avoid his blows long enough to tire him out physically, but not enough to stop his mouth from running. The things he was saying froze me in a fear that I could not continue the days activities with the remainder of the group. I actually had to call my program manager to come replace me as I needed to leave the situation immediately. My mind was stuck, unable to make decisions, and I didn't believe I could figure out how to make it back with the group if she only took the big scary guy away. And this was when I was 31 years old. To this day, I still don't recall how I made it back...that is how traumatizing the event was for me. So I can understand how that other kid must have felt that was with him, and he is only 17. You think your friend is joking as maybe the home life isn't that great, but yet the kid never showed any sign of violence before so you believe he is just joking about killing his mother.....until you get there. Also, mental illness runs in my family. My sister has a daughter who by age 8 was implored to institutionalize her by several doctors and psychologists who knew my niece was beyond help, and also knew my sister was quite abusive as well, so it was not a good fit for my niece. But she was also so far gone, that therapeutic foster care may not work if it was not readily available, and she would get better care in a hospital. But my sister refused, and my niece can barely hold it together today. She threw her then-three year old son across a room, where he hit the wall, and bounced off, about three years ago. She keeps having kids when doctors tell her not too, and I am certain that one day, she will either end up killing one or all of them, or one of them will grow up so traumatized and sick by her, he will turn around and kill her. So I am all for opening back up the institutions and asylums and instituting force mental health treatment on adults, if necessary, just not neglectful and with the lack of services seen in the past, which was why all the Dudley Do Rights yelled and screamed for deinstitutionalization and for community integration. Obviously, not all ppl can thrive in community integration. Recovery just isn't possible for everyone.

Caroline Maul
Caroline Maul

Exactly, Michael. Just because a kid is considered sane, it doesn't mean he has the best self esteem or makes the best judgement choices when he decides that a huge guy would probably protect him if he too also gets picked on at school. Apparently, this big guy was also bullied, and tried hard to stay in control, which accounts for why other kids bullied such a big ginger kid w/o fear of reprisal. And likely, there was some abuse happening in the home, too. Either way, when you see a big guy like loose it, and you're just a kid yourself, you just do what you are told. It's a trauma situation for him too, sort of like Stockholm Syndrome or what is seen with rape victims, they just go limp after awhile and stay frozen. He might be charged as an adult, but I am sure a jury will take his age into consideration.

Kim Villarreal
Kim Villarreal

It's too bad the funding isn't there now! Or 20 years ago! Mental health is a disease like cancer and needs to be treated.

Colleen Flutter-by
Colleen Flutter-by

The Mother Tina was our friend and coworker at USAirways Express and always had a hug and a quick smile for all of us .... she will be deeply missed .... she has put forth so much effort to try and help her son ...this is truly tragic :(

Brennan Johnson
Brennan Johnson

I wish the best of luck in dealing with your child, because I know it's a long difficult road dealing with an Autistic child.

Keith Piske
Keith Piske

wow!!!! this kids wiring is all fucked up.... Just put him down... No need to pay for his living for the rest of his life in prison.....

Brennan Johnson
Brennan Johnson

I'm fully aware of Autism, and I feel a (lack of a better term) crazy person is someone who's brain isn't functioning well enough to take care of one's self or has delusional thoughts due to the things wrong with the person's brain. We've labeled everyone with a special kind of brain disorder, but all in all they're at some level of being crazy. My brother gets very frustrated and angry when things don't go the way he wanted them to go, and we're very concerned he may snap one day. He was allowed to buy a gun a couple of years ago, but my mom told him if he was to stay living with her he needed to keep the gun in her safe at all times. We've screamed to the state that something needs to be done to help, but their response always is "he has rights and until he does something wrong we can't do anything", and we're afraid of that day. Everybody wants to be a bleeding heart and tell people that's the wrong way to deal with a situation, but nobody is willing to help with the situation. So we're left with these people as a part of society, so if we're going to treat them as sane people before a crime then they should be treated as a sane person after the crime. Maybe if a couple people get put to death or thrown in jail for the rest of their life, people will stop and think about fixing the insane situation in this country.

Matt Turkington
Matt Turkington

He miiiiight have....only if he could even register on their broken $630 million website made from both of our tax money.

JaCinda Crawford
JaCinda Crawford

I hope you don't think your brother is A CRAZY PERSON, as I don't think that about my child at all. But you do indeed make a good point Brennan.

Brennan Johnson
Brennan Johnson

I have a special needs (Autism) brother who is in his 40's, and let me tell you he has an angry side to him. If he was to go off and kill my mother I don't care the reason why I'd want my brother delt with just as a sane person is delt with. The ISSUE with this country and state is there is no place for crazy people any more. Because this country is full of bleeding hearts most insane asylums have been closed do to it was inhumane to leave a nut in a padded cell for the rest of their life, so instead they're left on the street to finally do something bad enough where they end up in jail for the rest of their life with out the proper care. Prevention is way cheaper and less damaging then cleaning up the mess after the problem blows up, but in this country those who preach prevention are considered nut jobs, and those who clean up the mess are hero's.

Troy Farah Faucet
Troy Farah Faucet

Maybe it was all the crack the CIA sold to the ghetto! Maybe it was chemtrails! Maybe it was the Bermuda Triangle.

Cameron Stewart
Cameron Stewart

Save tax dollars for homeless and just hang him...reuse the rope to hang more like him.

Chuck Reynolds
Chuck Reynolds

it was probably an illegal assault AR-15 that did it! If not... it was definitely video games!

Michael Boyle
Michael Boyle

I'm sure the intimidation factor of his 6'6 ginger friend with a frying pan telling him to stand in the dark isn't going to play in at all. I mean, the poor 'sane' kid probably really liked standing watching his friend murder his mother?

JaCinda Crawford
JaCinda Crawford

the part of your brain that controls emotional control develops last or in cases of kids with Autism, etc. the neurons may never fire correctly. I have family members who look "normal" but have neurological conditions that render them incapable of controlling their anger. And note that recent research has shown that the human brain is not fully developed to adult until the age of 25. While this incident is truly horrible, let us see what the true facts are and deal with it accordingly. As a parent to a special need child, my heart breaks for this now deceased mother and her ENTIRE family.

Jimmy Phoenix
Jimmy Phoenix

Unreal ... I live just down Gilbert Rd from them .... smh

TommyCollins
TommyCollins topcommenter

If the kid didn't like the idea of being 'grounded' at home he really isn't going to like the experience of incarceration for the rest of his natural life.

Sick.

Scarlett Ministero-Decker
Scarlett Ministero-Decker

Inexcusable but stepdad comes home at 4 a.m. I'm guessing this wasn't a happy family. The friend's involvement boggles my mind. He'll be in jail forever.

Sandi Riccio Healy
Sandi Riccio Healy

So he may get a lesser charge because of insanity while the other kid will get a harsher punishment because he's considered "sane" at the time. That's ridiculous being he was the mastermind and it's premeditated murder on his own mother.

Brennan Johnson
Brennan Johnson

When does insanity stop being an excuse? Of course you're crazy to do something like this, and crazy people should be delt with the same as a suppose sane person, and that is death. See yea goodbye no need for you to be here any longer.

Denise Sharp
Denise Sharp

Very sad the kid is aweful to do something like that to his own mom very horrible

Jukes
Jukes

@robert_graham You're always posting comments like this.  Do you enjoy thinking about such scenarios? 

tgstkmop
tgstkmop

@Kim Villarreal Actually, it's NOT a disease.

RUNAWAYSLAVE
RUNAWAYSLAVE

@Kim Villarreal treated with bullets! I agree!

Jukes
Jukes

@Colleen Flutter-by I'm sorry for you and your co-workers losing your friend.  Mental illness takes a terrible toll.  I'm sure Tina did the best she could with her son but resources for violent kids is all too scarce. 

Jukes
Jukes

@Matt Turkington The website did NOT cost $630 million.  That's the total amount paid to the company for all of their many government contracts, the ACA website being just one.  Are you just misinformed, or are you purposefully spreading erroneous information? 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Scarlett Ministero-Decker  

Don't be so quick to judge.  Dad may have just been getting off work.  The friend may not have realized what was about to happen.  It sounds like he refused to help once he knew.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Brennan Johnson  

What's the reason for killing the insane?  It's not going to serve as a warning to other insane killers.  If the goal is to prevent it from ever happening again, why don't you consider treatment to be an option?  If the goal is just to "get even" then you need to give the matter more thought.

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