Husband goes to trial on murder charges in wife’s 2010 death

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A Ramsey County jury listened Friday afternoon to opening statements in a murder case more than a decade old.

Nicholas Firkus, faces first-degree premeditated murder, and murder in the second-degree with intent charges in the death of his wife Heidi’s death at their St. Paul house in the 1700 block of Minnehaha Avenue, West.

RELATED: Murder charge filed against man in wife’s 2010 death in St. Paul

Heidi Firkus, 25, was shot and killed in her home April 25, 2010, during what Nicholas Firkus, her husband, told investigators was a home invasion.

A criminal complaint states Firkus told police at the scene that one or two people broke into his home, and that he and Heidi were trying to run out the back door to escape when a man grabbed the shotgun out of his hands and shot him and his wife.

The complaint states that, at the police station, Firkus stated he was walking behind Heidi while carrying his shotgun when a man grabbed the barrel of his shotgun, causing Firkus’ finger to hit the trigger and shoot Heidi. He added that the suspect then grabbed the gun and shot him in the leg before running away.

Investigators learned the Firkuses had financial troubles and their home was being foreclosed on and they were expected to move out the next day. However, investigators said evidence indicated Heidi didn’t know about the foreclosure. The complaint states investigators found a message to a friend that Heidi had sent just a month earlier saying, “Wish we weren’t tied down to our house so we could move somewhere fun.” No documents were signed by Heidi, either, the complaint mentions.

Ramsey County prosecutors filed criminal charges back in May 2021 against Nicholas Firkus after working with federal investigators to review evidence from the scene.

During opening statements on Friday afternoon, prosecutors addressed the delay saying in part that police were “ill-equipped” to process some of the evidence from when the crime occurred.

“He staged a burglary and killed her in the back,” said Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Elizabeth Lamin.

Lamin told the jury there were no signs of anyone else in the home, adding DNA evidence tested on the gun only matches the defendant, and no other finger prints were found on the shotgun.

“Shame and fear…dictated Nicholas Firkus actions,” Lamin said regarding the couple’s financial problems.

Defense attorney Robert Richman told the jury that Heidi knew about their financial hardship but didn’t tell family and friends about it.

 “Nick Firkus, loved his wife Heidi, and she loved him,” Richman said.

The defense said that their client was no way better off with the death of his wife, he’d still have to leave the home, but without his partner.

“He did everything he could to save her, her death was the tragedy of his life,” Richman said.

Testimony continues on Monday at the Ramsey County Courthouse in downtown St. Paul.