DA: ‘Tyrant’ found guilty

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Covington County jury this week found a man prosecutors said behaved like a “tyrant” guilty of criminal trespassing, criminal tampering II, and two counts of criminal mischief III.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said Craig Helms, 62, of Florala, terrorized his neighbors over the course of several months, beginning in December 2012.

The jury heard evidence that someone placed a beheaded deer in a shooting house on the victims’ property. Video evidence also showed the defendant destroying a shooting house that belonged to one of the victims.

A second victim also testified that from December of 2012 through February of 2013, his property, a farm, was “tacked” at least twice a week.

Two eyewitnesses testified they observed Helms throwing tacks in the victim’s driveway in late February of 2013.

“The individual acts were bad enough, but when you add it all together, he was nothing short of a tyrant,” Merrell said.

Circuit Judge Charles A. “Lex” Short, who presided, set sentencing for Oct. 6, 2014. Corey Bryan represented Helms.