A Kenyon man says he was assaulted and threatened by his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend on eight different occasions before he tried to hire a someone to kill the man last spring.
Jesse Helgeson, 27, is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit premeditated first-degree murder -- once from an incident in April and another in May -- after authorities were tipped off by the man Helgeson allegedly tried to hire to do the job.
Helgeson's attorney, Terry Watkins, told Judge Christine Long during a motion hearing Tuesday afternoon that his client had repeatedly gone to law enforcement with complaints of assault and harassment with the alleged victim in the case as the reported perpetrator. Helgeson's ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend also made threats toward Helgeson's child, according to Watkins and a criminal complaint filed in the case.
Court documents filed immediately following Helgeson’s arrest detail many of the text messages he and a man he was trying to hire for the job exchanged. In one, Helgeson allegedly wrote, “Its [sic] my life or his and yea choosein [sic] mine.”
Then, during a recorded phone call, Helgeson allegedly said, “He said he was gonna be my son’s dad ... and said he would torture my son in front of me ... and then kill me ...”
Nothing was ever done, Watkins said, and even a request for a restraining order in Mower County was denied.
The evidence is part of a self-defense assertion Watkins plans to use if the case goes to trial. The alleged conspiracy to commit murder, Watkins said, was in response to inaction by law enforcement.
Assistant Rice County Nathan Reitz has formally asked Long to not allow a self-defense claim in the case.
“...(A)s such a defense requires that the defendant have an honest, actual and reasonable belief that he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm, and no reasonable evidence could support such a claim in this case,” Reitz wrote in a motion filed in late January.
Long will issue a written order that decides whether the self-defense assertion will be allowed. If the claim is allowed, Reitz said he anticipates the jury trial -- which is set to begin April 8 -- to last between two and three weeks because of the in depth testimony on the alleged reports made to law enforcement by Helgeson.
Helgeson remains in custody at the Rice County Detention Center on $500,000 outright bail. With conditions that he have no contact with the alleged victim in the case, Helgeson could be released on $250,000.
Reach reporter Rebecca Rodenborg at 333-3128, or follow her on Twitter.com @FDNRebecca