Connecticut Court Vacates Conviction in Amber Alert Case

August 09, 2018 - 1:20 pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Supreme Court has vacated a felony murder conviction in a case that included the first Amber Alert ever issued in the state.

The high court ruled Thursday that 24-year-old Jennifer Helmedach's lawyers should have told her about a plea offer before she testified about her role in the September 2004 slaying of 20-year-old Faye Bennett in Meriden.

Helmedach acknowledged she was in the room when Bennett, who was pregnant, was stabbed and strangled by Helmedach's boyfriend, David Bell. They fled, resulting in the Amber Alert for Helmedach's then-1-year-old daughter, who was later found safe.

Helmedach's appellate lawyer, Conrad Seifert, says she has served 11 ½ years in prison, 18 months longer than the original plea offer.

A Chief State's Attorney's Office spokesman says prosecutors are reviewing the decision.