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

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The husband of a woman killed in St. Paul in 2010 has been charged with murder in connection to her death.

Nicholas James Firkus, 38, is charged with one count of second-degree murder in the death of Heidi Firkus.

St. Paul Police announced Nicholas Firkus was arrested Wednesday morning at his Mounds View home.

"Today, we’re one step closer to getting justice for Heidi," St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said during a press conference Thursday morning.

Axtell credited Sgt. Nicki Sipes for her fresh perspective on the case when she started looking at it 18 months ago. The chief said Sgt. Sipes’ determination, along with help from the FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, helped lead to this point in the case.

Sgt. Sipes said the fact that Heidi’s case was still unsolved and her family was left wondering was enough to drive her as she investigated the case.

"This case reinforces the fact the lives of Heidi and victims like her matter," Michael Krause, the assistant special agent in charge for the FBI’s Minneapolis bureau, said.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi noted there’s still a long way to go in the case but said it was a good step.

Choi added, "There are many, many other families like Heidi’s that are still waiting for justice."

Heidi Firkus was shot and killed in her home at around 6:30 a.m. on April 25, 2010, during what Nicholas Firkus claimed 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. In fact, 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 states.

Firkus’ bail was set at $3 million or $1 million if he surrenders his passport, according to Choi.