Ken Leighton 7:59 a.m., May 22
U.S. Border Patrol is still thinking about it
Two off-duty agents survived a public fight and then trial for battery
This morning, March 21, 2013, the United States Border Patrol stated: “Agent Helwig and Agent Torello are on administrative duties pending an internal investigation.” This appears to be the same status they have had since June of 2012.
Ten months ago, on May 27, 2012, there was an ugly confrontation at the Del Mar fairgrounds which reportedly involved two off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agents. The victim of the assault by one of the agents said she had suggested that the two should “get a room” because they were performing sex acts while seated next to her, in the audience during a Cirque du Soleil show.
During her trial, Border Patrol agent Kallie Helwig took the witness box and told the jury that she felt threatened, before she struck the woman who had complained about her less than an hour earlier. The victim of the battery testified that she tried to call an usher because she believed Kallie and her date, another Border Patrol agent named Gerald Joseph Torello, were performing a lewd act in the grandstands during the circus show.
After a ten-day trial, on February 11, 2013, a jury declared the female Border Patrol agent guilty of battery for slugging the other woman in the head, three times.
Co-defendant and fellow Border Patrol agent Gerald Joseph Torello, 35, was not found guilty of any charges. He was specifically acquitted of one lewd act charge. The jury could not come to unanimous decision on two other count: another lewd act charge, plus battery as aider-and-abettor for allegedly calling out encouragement to Helwig just prior to the slugging and hair-pulling incident.
The prosecutor declined to retry either defendant on the remaining two “hung” counts, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.
On March 1, 2013, Kallie Lamb Helwig, 25, was sentenced to three years unsupervised or “summary” probation for her misdemeanor battery conviction, by the same judge who heard the trial, Honorable Harry Elias. She was also ordered to complete two days of public service.
Because agent Kallie Helwig was convicted of battery, the California judge advised her that State law dictates she may not carry a firearm for ten years. However, Judge Elias wondered aloud whether a Federal statute might have over-riding authority, and he told her to check with attorneys for the United States Border Patrol.
Kallie Lamb Helwig, 25, and Gerald Joseph Torello, 35, are both said to be five-year veterans with the U. S. Border Patrol. They have remained at liberty, on their own recognizance, since the assault incident on May 27, 2012.
On June 29, 2012, the District Attorney’s office for San Diego County filed charges against the two agents, and on July 6, 2012, an attorney for both agents officially received the charges and “arraigned” them. It therefore appears that both agents Helwig and Torello have remained in the same status, “on administrative duties pending an internal investigation,” from June 2012 until the current date, March 21, 2013.