On April 25th, 2010, St. Paul, Minnesota police responded to a 911 call placed by Heidi Firkus and her husband, Nick Firkus. Heidi Firkus had been shot in the upper back and was unresponsive, and Nick Firkus had suffered a gunshot wound to his thigh. Heidi Firkus was pronounced dead at the scene.
During the initial investigation, Nick Firkus told police a story of a burglary gone wrong, claiming that he awoke to a suspicious noise at his front door, grabbed his shotgun, and alerted his sleeping wife. He claimed the gun went off during a life-or-death battle with the burglar and the gun discharged twice- hitting Heidi Firkus, then himself. He described the burglar as a black male in his late 30s, wearing a hoodie.
The Firkus house was clean and tidy, and the entryway table beside the front door was undisturbed. Extensive neighborhood canvassing and a K9 search showed no sign of an intruder. Investigators found no signs that the couple was packing up for a move and found no proof that Heidi Firkus knew of the impending eviction. Nick Firkus declined the police department’s request to sit down with a police sketch artist to create a composite of the alleged intruder.
After Heidi Firkus’ death, Nick Firkus met Rachel Watson, and the couple married in August 2012. Rachel later found a notice in their home that stated that they were delinquent on their property taxes and that their house was in danger of being foreclosed on. Rachel Firkus said her mind immediately went to Heidi Firkus’s death. Rachel confronted Nick Firkus and recorded the conversations.
“I didn’t know that this was happening and I’m living with this person. I have children with this person, and the last time he had problems with finances, a lot of things went wrong,” she said.
In the recording, Rachel Firkus said, “the fact that your lying was so easy for you to do in front of me over and over and over makes me think…”
“That I could murder my wife?” he responded. She replied, “Yes.”
The couple divorced in 2018.
In 2019, Sgt. Nichole Sipes of the St. Paul Police Department took a new look at the death of Heidi Frikus. “The case always bothered me because the circumstances didn’t seem to fit what happened,” Sipes told “20/20.”
In May 2021, Nick Firkus was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of his former wife. A grand jury later indicted him for first-degree murder. The FBI combined their ballistics testing and a virtual model of Heidi and Nick Firkus’ house to prove that the shots were most likely not “accidental” in the middle of a struggle – but deliberate. On February 10th, the jury found Nick Firkus guilty of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
His family declined a request from ABC News for an interview but issued a statement in support of him.
“He was wrongfully convicted and sits in jail for a crime he did not commit. This is not just the belief of heartbroken parents,” the statement read in part.