Kenyon man allegedly tried to hire hitman

Published 11:28 am Thursday, May 17, 2012

AUSTIN — Authorities say a Kenyon man charged with burglary and assault in Mower County tried to pay an undercover officer to murder his previous alleged victim.

Jesse Allen Helgeson, 26 — who pleaded not guilty to breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s Austin home and assaulting her boyfriend with a flashlight — was arrested May 14 in Rice County and charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

According to the Rice County court complaint, Helgeson sent a man several text messages in regard to killing his alleged assault victim, one of which said, “Yeah, I have a plan but dunno if it will work.”

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Detectives then listened to a 38-minute phone call between Helgeson and the man he wanted to arrange the murder, according to the complaint. The complaint adds that Helgeson said things like, “I want him worse than beat up. … Like not breathing,” and “I need this done.”

An undercover officer then allegedly exchanged text messages with Helgeson about how to arrange the killing and later spoke in person with Helgeson in Northfield posing as the man who was going to kill the victim, the complaint states.

Helgeson allegedly discussed killing the victim, how to make it look like a drug deal gone bad and payment for the job in the form of a golf cart and ATV. The officer allegedly asked Helgeson several times if he was sure he wanted the victim dead.

Officers then arranged to meet with Helgeson on May 14 about the payment, went to Helgeson’s house, arrested him and put his child into protective custody. According to the complaint, Helgeson admitted to speaking with the undercover officer but only about selling his four-wheeler.

Helgeson’s pretrial in Mower County for burglary and assault is set for July 13. His pretrial in Rice County for conspiracy to commit murder is May 30.