Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Feb. 27
California Border Patrol agent guilty of battery got probation
Prosecutor will not retry either defendant on two misdemeanor counts
Three weeks ago, on February 11, a jury declared a female Border Patrol agent guilty of misdemeanor battery for slugging another woman in the head, three times.
Today, Kallie Lamb Helwig was sentenced to three years unsupervised or “summary” probation, by the same judge who heard the trial, Honorable Harry Elias.
Helwig must also complete two days of public service, the judge stated this morning, March 1, 2013.
The confrontation happened May 27, 2012, at the end of a circus performance on the Del Mar fairgrounds.
Kallie Helwig, 25, took the witness box during trial last month. She told the jury that she felt threatened, before she struck a woman who had complained about her less than an hour earlier. The victim of the battery had tried to call an usher; she believed that Kallie Helwig and her date that evening, Gerald Joseph Torello, were being offensive with inappropriate behavior in the grandstands during the public event.
Knut Johnson, private defense attorney for Miss Helwig, surmised that the jury decided “Miss Helwig over-reacted.” Prosecutor Tracy Prior said of the jury’s verdict: “They clearly rejected the defendant’s testimony.” Helwig claimed she had acted in self-defense. “It wasn’t just one punch, it was three,” the prosecutor pointed out.
Co-defendant and fellow Border Patrol agent Gerald Joseph Torello, 35, was not found guilty of any charges. He was specifically acquitted of one charge of lewd act, and the jury’s votes were favorable but “hung” on two other counts: another lewd act charge; plus battery as an aider-and-abettor for allegedly calling out encouragement to Helwig just prior to the slugging and hair-pulling.
The prosecutor declined to re-try those two “hung” counts against either defendant, and the judge dismissed those remaining counts today, in San Diego's North County Superior Courthouse.
The prosecutor originally charged five counts, including lewd acts and battery and annoy child and making criminal threats; all had been charged as misdemeanors.
Both defendants remained at liberty, since the public confrontation.
Because Kallie Lamb Helwig was convicted of the battery charge, the judge advised her that California State law dictates that she may not carry a firearm for ten years. However, Judge Elias wondered aloud whether a Federal statute might have over-riding authority on that issue, and he told Helwig she should check with attorneys for the United States Border Patrol.
More like this:
- U.S. Border Patrol is still thinking about it — March 21, 2013
- Jury: female Border Patrol agent guilty of battery — Feb. 11, 2013
- Jury deliberates case against two Border Patrol agents — Feb. 9, 2013
- Border Patrol agents may testify — Feb. 6, 2013
- Jury selection began for two California Border Patrol agents — Jan. 31, 2013