A 16-year-old East Valley boy will be charged as an adult with first-degree murder in connection with the brutal beating of his mother at their Mesa home.
Bond has been set a $1 million for both Michael Roy Helms and his 17-year-old friend Christian Lee Blakely, who is accused of helping to cover up the murder.
According to a police report, Helms struck his mother, 36-year-old Tina Helms Spencer, with a frying pan and a hammer before choking her to death Saturday morning at their home near east Juanita Avenue and Gilbert Road.
Helms then moved his mother’s body to a shed behind the house, cleaned the area inside the home and waited for his stepfather to arrive.
According to police, when the man entered the home, Helms launched into a second attack, striking his stepfather with the frying pan, along with punching and choking him.
The man suffered severe facial injuries in the attack, but was able to escape and contact authorities.
Helms also fled the scene, but was later apprehended, according to police. During an interview with officers, the teen admitted to planning and preparing for the attack.
Police said it appears Helms had recently gotten in trouble at home and mentioned to his friend that he wanted to hurt his mother. Helms is facing several charges, including first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and concealment of a dead body.
According to court documents, Blakely, who has been charged as an accomplice in the murder, “stood in the dark and watched” as Helms beat his mother to death. Blakely then allegedly helped Helms relocate Spencer’s body to the shed, as well as helped to clean up the crime.
Court documents indicate that both suspects confessed to the crime while talking with investigators. It also indicates that Helms may suffer from a mental disorder.
Classmates of Helms said they were aware of tension in the family, but wouldn’t have expected it to end in violence.
“We all had really high hopes that he was going to go far in the Army,” said one friend, speaking of Helms.
Both students were a part of the ROTC program at Gilbert High School.
Friends described both Helms and Blakely as nice, caring and considerate of peoples’ feelings.
The Tribune and ABC15.com are naming the accused juveniles because they are being charged as adults.