Children of Thunder: The Helzer Brothers
Murder Mystery Dinner
Dawn Godman was as much an outcast as either of the Helzers, according to court documents and press accounts.
She moved in with her relative who was living in Martinez and got a job at a grocery store. She started attending services at the Mormon Church, desperate to find direction in her life. Instead, she found Taylor and Justin Helzer.
She started dating Justin Helzer, although press reports say she was fascinated by his charismatic older brother.
Taylor convinced Godman to sign up for a self-awareness seminar, according to the Chronicle. The group spent four days in a room without windows confronting their inner demons with a tough-talking facilitator whose badgering sometimes made people run sobbing from the room. When Godman had completed two of the three levels of the program, Taylor told her that he would take over her lessons.
He started to offer her spiritual guidance, and eventually convinced her that he was a prophet of God. In January 2000, he drove her to the Mormon temple in Oakland, where he told her his plans to defeat Satan by starting a self-help group. It was his destiny to take over the Mormon Church, he told her, by assassinating the church leaders, if necessary.
"Spirit's telling me it's time you get to know everything," Taylor allegedly told her as they sat in the parking lot, which offers sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay.
He told her his scheme to extort money from and kill an ex-client to obtain seed money for his self-help group. He asked Godman if she'd be willing to kill in God's name, and she told him she'd consider it a blessing, she testified later in court.
"He made you feel like you were the most important person in the world," Godman told jurors, when she testified against the brothers to avoid the death penalty.