District Attorney Hoovler Announces Second Guilty Plea in Goshen Murder/Arson Case

February 14, 2017

Defendant pleaded guilty to Murder in the Second Degree for killing 81 year old woman during a Burglary, before victim’s house was set on fire

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced today that Devin A. Giordano, 22, pleaded guilty to crimes including Murder in the Second Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Tampering with Physical Evidence and Arson in Third Degree, for having been involved in the botched burglary which ended with the killing of 81 year old Helen Mills in her Village of Goshen home on August 2, 2014. Giordano admitted that he and an accomplice entered the home to steal money from their elderly victim, and that when the victim resisted, the accomplice killed Mills and Giordano intentionally lit a match to set fire to the house to destroy evidence. Giordano also admitted concealing clothing that would evidence of his commission of these crimes.

Back on February 25, 2015, Giordano’s then girlfriend, Jennifer P. Molyneaux, 18, of Wallkill, 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. At the time 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.

Prosecutors told the County Court Judge Nicholas De Rosa that the District Attorney’s Office would be recommending a sentence of 22 years to Life in State Prison for both Giordano and Molyneaux. Both are scheduled to be sentenced on March 24, 2017.

“It is utterly reprehensible that anyone would kill a defenseless, elderly, woman in her own bedroom just to get money,” said District Attorney. “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. Even though Helen Mills knew nothing about heroin, the opioid epidemic took her life also.”

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.