Last year, a Missouri judge found that Dale Helmig was wrongfully convicted of a murder that landed him in prison for nearly 15 years.
On Friday, the 55-year-old mid-Missouri resident filed a federal lawsuit against some of those who put him there.
Helmig, who now lives with a relative near the Lake of the Ozarks, alleges in the suit that Osage County Sheriff Carl Fowler and other investigators violated Helmig’s constitutional rights during the investigation that led to his conviction for the 1993 killing of his mother.
The suit filed in Jefferson City also names Osage County and two former law enforcement officers as defendants.
Phone messages left with Fowler’s office and the Osage County Commission were not returned Friday.
Helmig was living with his mother in 1993 near Linn, Mo., when he reported her missing. Norma Helmig’s body was found, tied to a concrete block, a few days later in the Osage River.
He was charged with her murder. In 1996, a jury found him guilty.
The judge who ordered Helmig freed last year found that not only was he unfairly tried, but there was strong evidence that he was innocent.
The Missouri Court of Appeals later upheld the judge’s ruling. Last August, the current county prosecutor said she would not retry Helmig.
The suit, filed by Kansas City attorneys Arthur Benson and Brian McCallister, alleges that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to deprive Helmig of his rights.
“The illegal arrest, illegal confinement, malicious prosecution and wrongful conviction of plaintiff (Helmig) was deliberately and intentionally brought about by defendants,” the suit alleges.
The suit maintains that investigators failed to disclose to his attorney evidence favorable to Helmig’s defense.
“Defendants fabricated evidence, suppressed evidence of innocence, destroyed and/or participated in the destruction of evidence, and built a case based on inaccurate and misleading information,” the suit contends.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages.