Crime & Courts

Union Co. grand jury indicts man on first-degree murder charge

A Union County grand jury late Tuesday indicted Eddie “Clyde” Helms on a first-degree murder charge in connection with a 2012 slaying in the Marshville area.

Helms also faces a murder charge in Anson County in a 1988 case.

Helms, 61, was arrested Aug. 12. He is accused of killing Charles Ronald Godwin in eastern Union County on Aug. 30, 2012, and John Terow Griffin III in Peachland, Anson County, on Nov. 10, 1988. Helms also was charged with stalking Godwin and a female acquaintance.

Authorities said anger and jealousy played a role in both crimes, but they have not disclosed what enabled them to connect the cases. The indictment provided few additional details.

Both victims were killed in the same manner: by a shotgun blast to the back by a killer who sneaked up on them in the dark. Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey called the murders “very cowardly acts.”

Helms also was indicted on two counts of misdemeanor stalking and one count of discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling.

Godwin was shot through a window in his house. He had befriended a woman at his church whom Helms used to date. That woman had gotten a temporary restraining order against Helms in 2012.

According to the five-page indictment, Helms allegedly stalked Godwin by following him to his church more than once and to his place of work at a local grading company. Helms also allegedly followed the woman to her church and home, even after she asked him to stop, the indictment stated.

Other women also filed complaints against Helms, including in December 2013, 1998 and 1993, court records show.

The woman who filed the 1993 criminal complaint for assault and communicating threats was the estranged wife of John Griffin, the 1988 murder victim.

Griffin had been fixing a TV antenna on his roof when he was shot. His sister said her brother had told her his estranged wife had an affair with Helms.

Helms is being held in Union County Jail without bond.

He is from the New Salem community in eastern Union County, not far from the Anson County line. Helms ran a grading and landscaping business from his home.