Eddie “Clyde” Helms, accused of killing two men 24 years apart, has learned he will not face the death penalty in at least one of those cases.
At a hearing this month, Anson County District Attorney Reece Saunders informed the court he will not seek capital punishment in the case if Helms is convicted. Saunders declined to comment.
Helms, 61, was arrested in August and charged with killing John Terow Griffin III in Peachland, Anson County, in November 1988, and Charles Ronald Godwin in eastern Union County in August 2012. Helms also faces charges of stalking Godwin and a female friend who recently had broken up with Helms.
Jealousy and anger played a role in both slayings, authorities have said. They have provided few other details, such as how they were able to connect the cases.
Griffin, 39, and Godwin, 60, were each killed with a shotgun blast to the back after someone sneaked up on them in the dark. On the day of Helms’ arrest, Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey called both cases “very cowardly acts.”
Helms still faces a hearing in Union County where prosecutors will say whether they plan to seek the death penalty. Such hearings are mandatory in cases involving first-degree murder charges. A hearing date has not been set in Union County.
Union County District Attorney Trey Robison has declined to discuss the case. Helms’ attorney John Painter of Monroe also declined to comment.
Helms, who is being held in Union County Jail without bond, ran a grading and landscaping business out of his home. He lived in the New Salem community outside of Marshville near the Anson County line.
Several women had filed complaints against Helms over the years, court records show, including in 1993, 1998, 2012 and 2013.
In the 2012 case, a woman who ended her lengthy relationship with Helms in June of that year claimed in court papers he was stalking her. She got a temporary restraining order against him.
And she befriended Godwin at their Marshville-area church, people who knew the two told the Observer.
The stalking lasted from mid-July until Aug. 30, 2012, the day Godwin’s body was found, according to Helms’ arrest warrant.
Helms also faces a wrongful death civil suit from the Godwin family.