Cary man admits to murder-for-hire charge
WOODSTOCK – A Cary man accused of trying to hire a hitman faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty on Wednesday to attempted solicitation of murder for hire.
Stanley Helmer, 59, also pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation of aggravated discharge of a firearm.
Helmer entered a blind plea in front of McHenry County Judge Joseph Condon, meaning there is no agreement between his attorney and prosecutors as to the sentence.
Helmer's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 16.
Both offenses are Class 1 felonies with a possible 15-year sentence, but Helmer is eligible for probation. Assistant State's Attorney Dave Johnston said he will take the position that Helmer, if sentenced to prison, would not be eligible for day-for-day credit and must serve 85 percent of the time.
The target was Randy Smith of Midwest Woodwork and Veneering Inc., who had hired Helmer in 2009 to build a 24,000-square-foot building at 155 Chicago St. in Cary. Smith said he fired Helmer about a year later for poor quality work but still paid him promptly.
Helmer eventually filed a civil suit against Smith and Smith counter-sued, but the case was dismissed by a judge, court records show.
In January of 2011, Helmer began having discussions with a confidential informant, identified by prosecutors as "John Hire," expressing hatred for Smith and requesting that Smith be killed, injured or paralyzed. Helmer suggested five different methods for doing so and offered $3,000, Johnston said.
In March 2011, Helmer met with the man at the Cary McDonald's and paid him $500 to buy a gun. He also provided a photo of Smith and told the man where Smith could be found, Johnston said.
The Illinois State Police recorded at least one conversation, which included Helmer saying that when Smith was dead, he would go to the funeral and urinate on the grave.
Less than 24 hours after Helmer posted bond on that case, he was arrested again on additional solicitation charges. Helmer allegedly offered $10,000 to a man to break the legs of the first informant, "John Hire," with a baseball bat.
Those charges were dropped on Wednesday.
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