Police in Minnesota brought a murder charge this week in the killing of a woman 11 years after her death. Nicholas James Firkus, is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Heidi Firkus, in their Minnesota home in 2010, according to a criminal complaint.
“After years of tenacious work by investigators and our law enforcement partners, we are one step closer to getting justice for Heidi and the truth for everyone who loved her—especially her mother, father and brothers,” Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said Thursday.
Firkus, 38, is charged with second-degree intentional murder, according to the complaint. Jail records show he was arrested Wednesday morning.
Nicholas Firkus initially told police that one or two people broke into their home on April 25, 2010, according to the criminal complaint. He said when he pulled out a shotgun, one of the burglars grabbed his gun and shot both him and his wife.
Nicholas Firkus had a minor gunshot wound to his thigh, while Heidi was shot in the back and pronounced dead at the scene, police said in the complaint.
“Investigators tested swabs from the gun for DNA but found no unidentified DNA profiles,” the complaint says.
Heidi Firkus made the first call to 911 to report that someone was trying to break into the house, according to the complaint. In that call, a gunshot can be heard before she stops talking, but there was no indication of a struggle or that she had personally seen an intruder, according to investigators.
Firkus has not yet entered a plea.
A worker at the Ramsey County Jail confirmed to CNN that Firkus was released Thursday after posting a $1 million bond. He is scheduled to appear in court next Thursday.
Reached by phone, Firkus’ attorney, Joseph Friedberg, told CNN, “I don’t make a habit of commenting on my pending cases.”
The criminal complaint does not allege a specific motive for murder. The complaint does show evidence that Nicholas Firkus was having severe financial difficulties and had not shared everything with his wife.
The couple went on a five-day trip to Hawaii on the same day a lender started eviction proceedings on their home, the criminal complaint said.
Emails show that Heidi was alarmed by calls she was getting from creditors, the complaint said, but Nicholas assured her the financial issues were due to fraud on their account that was being investigated. According to the complaint, there was no evidence that US Bank conducted any such audit or that there was any fraud related to the Firkuses’ account.
Officials did not cite a specific break in the case that led them to charge Firkus now, following 11 years of investigation. They had continued to evaluate the case, and a new investigator was assigned 18 months ago, investigators said.
Having a “fresh set of eyes” helped, said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi at a news briefing Thursday, and some information came from the FBI that “I think helped us better understand what has happened.”
“It doesn’t matter how much time passes. In a case like Heidi’s, no one in this team or in law enforcement is going to give up trying to bring justice to victims or to hold those responsible accountable for their actions,” Chief Axtell said.