More than a decade after his wife’s murder, the criminal case against a Minnesota man takes its next step. A grand jury in Ramsey County indicted Nicholas Firkus, 38, for allegedly killing Heidi Firkus, 25, in what investigators claimed was a staged home invasion, according The Pioneer Press. Charges are first-degree murder and intentional second-degree murder.
As Law&Crime previously reported, the April 25, 2010 murder officially went unsolved for more than a decade. At the time, Nicholas Firkus allegedly told cops he and his wife woke up to the sound of an unknown intruder. He claimed to have grabbed a shotgun, and they supposedly checked on the sound downstairs. He asserted that the intruder struggled with him over the firearm, which he said went off twice, striking Heidi Firkus in the back and Nicholas Firkus in the leg. The wife was pronounced dead at the scene, and Nicholas Firkus recovered from a gunshot wound to his upper-left thigh, authorities say.
“Medical records noted that he was hysterical throughout the exam and crying loudly,” according to a probable cause statement from May of this year. “He was treated and released after about three hours.”
The surviving husband allegedly described the intruder as a Black man. From prosecutors:
Both at the hospital and at the police station, Firkus filled in details from the moment he heard someone at the door, to the struggle just inside the front door with his shotgun to the first and second shots that killed Heidi and wounded Nicholas. He also provided authorities a more complete profile of the intruder: black, 6’1” or 6’2”, dark hoodie drawn over his face, maybe wearing sunglasses, maybe wearing gloves.
It was all a lie, officers said. Investigators long put the couple’s financial situation under scrutiny.
“Nicholas Firkus also said that he and Heidi were behind on their bills, that their house had been foreclosed on, and that they had to be out of the house the next day,” the probable cause statement reads, summarizing the defendant’s interview at the police state. “He said that they hadn’t told any of their friends or family about the foreclosure or their need to be out of their house. He said that they had planned to pack up their house on Sunday and Monday morning, put some of their belongings in the garage to get later, and find someone to stay with.”
But authorities say Firkus apparently kept his wife in the dark about their deteriorating financial situation. Firkus had told officers that he and his wife had an April 26 deadline to get out of their foreclosed home. Officers found no evidence that Heidi knew of their serious financial situation, or even of the foreclosure.
“The house was fully furnished and nothing was packed,” stated a search warrant affidavit, obtained by the St. Paul Pioneer Press in a report published in 2010.
Authorities say the couple’s financial situation also surprised family and friends.
“Investigators have spoken with Heidi’s family, friends, and co-workers, and not one person said that Heidi ever said anything about foreclosure, eviction, or needing a place to stay or store their belongings,” the probable cause statement reads.
Forensics also pointed authorities to the husband, according to the probable cause statement.
“Investigators tested swabs from the gun for DNA but found no unidentified DNA profiles,” it reads. “DNA swabs from the entry door contained insufficient genetic information. Given where Heidi was shot, the trajectory of that shot, if extended back to just inside the front door, would require the shotgun to be near the table inside the door. If the incident happened as Nicholas Firkus described, the intruder would have been between the shotgun and the table. This would have put the intruder very near and probably in contact with the table. Despite this, nothing on the table was knocked over or apparently disturbed.”
[Booking for Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office]
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