Defendant sentenced for murdering 81 year old woman during a burglary, before victim’s house was set on fire
District Attorney’s Office Recommended Twenty-Two Years to Life
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced today that on May 17, 2017, Jennifer P. Molyneaux, 19, of Wallkill, was sentenced to nineteen years to life in state prison killing of 81 year old Helen Mills in her Village of Goshen home on August 2, 2014. On March 30, 2017, her then boyfriend, Devin A. Giordano, 22, of Goshen, was sentenced to twenty years to life in state prison killing for his role in the slaying of Ms. Mills. The District Attorney’s Office had recommended that both defendants be sentenced to twenty-two years in state prison.
On February 25, 2015, Molyneaux admitted to Orange County Court Judge Nicholas De Rosa that she killed Mills and that Giordano was also involved in the burglary and subsequent killing of Ms. Mills. She was seventeen years old at the time of the crime. When she pleaded guilty, Molyneaux admitted that she had entered the victim’s residence with the intention of stealing money. Molyneaux admitted placing her hands on the elderly woman’s throat, hitting her and smothering her with a pillow, before gasoline was spread around the house and it was set ablaze. Molyneaux stated that she had taken drugs prior to committing the crime.
On August 2, 2014, at approximately 4:00 a.m., the Village of Goshen Police Department and the Goshen Fire Department responded to a structure fire at the victim’s two story residence at 84 Green Street, in the Village of Goshen. An autopsy revealed reason to believe that the victim had suffered blunt force trauma wounds about her head and throat injuries consistent with her having been beaten and strangled. The Village of Goshen Police Department commenced the initial investigation. It became apparent the deceased was the victim of a homicide. The Village of Goshen contacted the State Police and requested the investigation be conducted jointly with the New York State Police and the Orange County Fire Investigations Unit. Evidence indicating the use of fire accelerants was found in several locations within the residence, including in the victim’s bedroom in the vicinity where her body was found.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Village of Goshen Police Department, the State Police, and Orange County Fire Investigations Unit for their investigation of this case.
“Helen Mills knew nothing about heroin, yet the opioid epidemic took her life also,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “It is beyond comprehension that anyone would kill a defenseless, elderly, woman in her own bedroom just to get money. There is a nexus between illicit narcotics and violent crime. We must hold accountable those who violently victimize defenseless citizens to get money to feed their drug habits. ”
The cases were prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Leah Canton and Assistant District Attorney Christopher Kelly.
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.