MIDDLETOWN – Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, joined by Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Major Patrick Regan of the New York State Police, Village of Goshen Police Chief James C. Watt, and Orange County Fire Coordinator Vini Tankasali, announced that Jennifer P. Molyneaux, 17, of the Town of Wallkill, and Devin A. Giordano, 19, of the Village of Goshen, were charged in felony complaints filed in the Village of Goshen Court with Murder in the Second Degree. The felony complaints allege that the defendants, acting in concert with each other, caused the death of Helen Mills during the commission of a burglary of her residence on August 2.
On August 2, at approximately 4:00 a.m., the Village of Goshen Police Department and Goshen Fire Department responded to a structure fire at Ms. Mills’ two-story residence at 84 Green Street, in the Village of Goshen. At that time firefighters discovered Ms. Mills’ badly burned body in her bedroom. A subsequent autopsy revealed reason to believe that Ms. Mills had suffered blunt force trauma wounds to her head and throat injuries consistent with her having been beaten and strangled. The Village of Goshen Police Department commenced an investigation and requested assistance from the New York State Police and the Orange County Fire Investigations Unit. Evidence indicating the use of fire accelerants was found in several locations within Ms. Mills’ residence, including in her bedroom in the vicinity where her body was found. Investigators believe that the motive of the burglary was to obtain money for narcotics. The case will be presented to an Orange County Grand Jury.
"There is a link between illicit narcotics and violent crime," District Attorney Hoovler said. "It is utterly reprehensible that anyone would kill a defenseless, elderly woman in her own bedroom. My office will hold accountable those who violently victimize defenseless citizens to get money to feed their drug habits. I commend the Village of Goshen Police Department, the State Police, and Orange County Fire Investigations Unit for their investigation of this case."
"This is a despicable crime committed against one of our seniors," said Neuhaus. "The collaboration between our state and local first-responders has been exemplary, and I would like to thank in particular District Attorney Hoovler, State Police Major Regan, the Orange County Fire Investigations Unit, Village of Goshen Police Department, and the Orange County Medical Examiner for their tireless work on behalf of our residents."
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Leah Canton and Christopher Kelly.
The charges against the defendants are accusations and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.