ST PAUL, Minn. — (EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is from May 2021.)
A St. Paul man now faces a first-degree murder charge in the 2010 death of his wife.
A Ramsey County grand jury indicted Nicholas Firkus on one count of premeditated first-degree murder in the April 2010 shooting death of Heidi Firkus. Nicholas Firkus was previously charged with second-degree murder after his arrest in May 2021.
KARE 11's Lou Raguse reports that if convicted on the first-degree charge, Firkus would face an automatic sentence of life in prison.
According to a criminal complaint in the case, Firkus originally claimed an intruder had broken into the couple's St. Paul home on April 25, 2010. Firkus claimed he'd heard a noise, grabbed a shotgun and woke up his wife. The complaint said Firkus initially told dispatchers that the intruder grabbed his gun and shot Heidi, but later changed his story to say he struggled with the intruder over the gun, and his finger slipped and hit the trigger as they wrestled for control, striking Heidi. Firkus also had a gunshot wound to his leg.
The complaint says investigators did not find any signs of struggle in the home, and the angle of Heidi Firkus' gunshot wound did not support her husband's story.
According to the complaint, investigators discovered Nicholas Firkus was in significant debt at the time of the shooting, and the couple was due to lose their home to foreclosure the next day, unbeknownst to his wife.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi credited a collaboration between St. Paul police, the FBI, agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and assistant prosecutors for building the case that made it possible to file charges nearly a decade later. At the time of Firkus' arrest in May, Choi said it was a matter of having enough evidence to make prosecutors feel comfortable that those charges would stick.
Firkus is scheduled to return to court next month.