California Supreme Court Affirms Death Penalty for Convicted Murderer Glenn Taylor Helzer

The California Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for Glenn Taylor Helzer, who was convicted in a murder spree that took place in Marin and Contra Costa counties. Helzer, the leader of a religious group called “the Children of Thunder,” pleaded guilty in 2005 to the murders of five people, including two victims in Marin County. The killings were carried out as part of an extortion plot orchestrated by Helzer to cover up his financial scheme.

Helzer’s brother, Justin, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, was also sentenced to death for his involvement in the murders. However, Justin Helzer died by suicide in his cell at San Quentin State Prison in 2013. Another associate of the Helzer brothers, Dawn Godman, received a sentence of 38 years to life in prison after pleading guilty for her participation in the plot.

According to the California Supreme Court’s ruling, Godman believed that Glenn Taylor Helzer was a prophet of God and joined the plot to declare war on Satan. The court noted that Helzer first targeted an elderly couple, Ivan and Annette Steinman, whom he used to be a stockbroker for, and later murdered them at their home. He then killed his girlfriend, Selina Bishop, and her mother, Jennifer Villarin, along with her companion, James Gamble, in order to prevent identification as Bishop’s killer.

The court rejected Helzer’s claims that he did not receive a fair trial due to the conduct of investigators and the trial judge. It also dismissed arguments that potential jurors were unfairly influenced by graphic photographs of the murder victims displayed during the trial. The court found that the photographs provided evidence of Helzer’s consciousness of guilt and the manner in which the victims’ bodies were disposed of.

Glenn Taylor Helzer’s automatic death penalty appeal began in 2008. His attorney, Jeanne Keevan-Lynch, declined to comment on the court’s ruling. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office stated that while the affirmation of the trial outcome does not ease the grief of the victims’ loved ones, it demonstrates the commitment of the state’s criminal justice system to the community. Marin County sheriff’s Sgt. Adam Schermerhorn described Helzer’s actions as irredeemable and emphasized the significance of upholding his sentence.

 

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

4 Responses

  1. While I understand that the topic of the post is about the California Supreme Court upholding the death penalty for Glenn Taylor Helzer, I would like to share my personal goals and plans related to the broader issue of criminal justice reform.

    One of my main goals is to advocate for a more humane and rehabilitative approach to punishment. I believe that the death penalty is a form of punishment that goes against the principles of justice and human rights. Instead, I support the idea of focusing on rehabilitation and providing opportunities

  2. Did you know that California has the largest death row population in the United States? As of 2021, there are over 700 inmates awaiting execution in the state.

  3. Do you believe that the death penalty is an effective deterrent for heinous crimes like the murder spree committed by Glenn Taylor Helzer, or do you think there are better alternatives for punishment and rehabilitation?

  4. Do you believe that the death penalty is an effective deterrent for heinous crimes like murder sprees, or do you think there are better alternatives for justice and rehabilitation? Why?

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