Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Justin Helzer of ‘Children of Thunder’ Cult Commits Suicide

From left: Glen and Justin Helzer

From left: Glen and Justin Helzer

Justin Helzer, 41, convicted in 2004 along with his brother Glen, 42, both leaders of the Children of Thunder cult, for his part in the murders of elderly couple Ivan and Annette Stineman; Selina Bishop, the daughter of blues guitarist Elvin Bishop; Bishop’s mother Jennifer Villarin, 45; and Villarin’s friend James Gamble, 54.

According to trial documents the Helzer brothers and accomplice Dawn Godman, sentenced to 38 years, committed the murders for money, which they planned to use to bring “joy, peace and love” to the world as well as the second coming of Christ. That didn’t work out so well.

Justin Helzer received the death penalty for the Stineman’s murders. Glen received five death sentences. Justin Helzer tried to commit suicide in 2010 by stabbing himself through his eye sockets with pencils. Since then jailers have been keeping an eye out for any suicidal behavior. They say there were no indications that he was suicidal.

Glen Helzer is now under extreme scrutiny to make sure he does not kill himself too.

Children of Thunder: The Helzer Brothers

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