A four-day jury trial to settle a lawsuit between the Helmans versus Barnett Bail Bonds, local bounty hunters and Lexington National Insurance Corporation is set to commence Tuesday in Kosciusko County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit was filed June 6, 2016, by Atta Helman and Larry Helman against Barnett’s Bail Bonds Inc. c/o Myra Barnett, East Lakeview Trail, Leesburg; The Papers Inc. c/o Ronald Baumgartner, South Main Street, Milford; Stacey Staley, formerly of Warsaw, who was an employee of The Papers; Tadd Martin, of Osceola, Daniel Foster, of LaPorte, and Michael Thomas, of Osceola, who were allegedly hired to be bounty hunters for Barnett’s; and Lexington National Insurance Corporation, the surety bond company. In December of 2016, Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Mike Reed dismissed The Papers, Inc. and Staley from the lawsuit.

The Helmans are suing for damages that allege negligence, battery, trespassing, residential entry and intimidation against the defendants after a shootout by bounty hunters in the Helmans’ Cromwell home resulted in Gary Helman being shot dead and Larry Helman being seriously injured.

According to court documents filed in the case, Atta Helman is the mother of both Larry and Gary Helman. On Nov. 27, 2013, Gary Helman was arrested and Atta and Gary both signed and paid a bond to Barnett’s to get Gary out of jail. On May 19, 2014, Kosciusko Superior Court I issued a warrant for Gary’s arrest for failing to appear at a court date.

According to court papers, Myra Barnett then contracted Martin, Foster and Thomas to act as bounty hunters to arrest Gary, citing Barnett’s did not want to attempt to apprehend Gary because it could turn into a violent situation.

In spring 2014, Martin and Foster began their efforts to locate Gary. When the bounty hunters told the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office they were hired to try to apprehend Gary, KCSO allegedly said they wanted nothing to do with assisting in the capture of him.

In June 2014, Martin and Foster approached the Helmans’ house, 9174 Doswell Blvd., Cromwell, and pretended to be interested in purchasing the property. Atta Helman told them they could not enter her residence.

It was at this time that Martin contacted local reporter Staley, who was an employee of The Papers Inc., working as a reporter for StaceyPageOnline.com. On July 27, 2014, according to court documents, Myra Barnett then messaged Staley through social media and wrote: “I know that my recover agent has contacted you about Gary Helman. I know it would be a feather in your cap to get him out so we can put him back into custody. The ISP had to shoot him and KCSD tazed him and he has sued them. He is a bit of a nut and we have been working on this for some time. I saw on his FB page that he wants the media to expose all injustice that has happened. Anything you could do would be appreciated by not only me but I know the officers involved. Thanks, Myra.”

Staley then responded with: “I made contact with him. Waiting to hear back. Will try again Monday. I have a great way to drag him out.”

Throughout the course of the next couple of days, Staley was in contact with Martin and Gary Helman. Staley is accused of setting up an in-person interview at Atta Helman’s home to interview Gary Helman about his grievances with local authorities. However, according to the lawsuit, Staley was in fact inside the home and texting the bounty hunters outside about who was in the residence, what the lay out of the home was and what people were wearing.

After the hour-long interview on Aug. 25, 2015, at the Helman home, Staley left and “immediately after that armed men came bounding into the house,” according to court documents.

Screaming and shots began ringing out immediately after the bounty hunters knocked on the door, according to video camera footage provided to police by Martin and Foster. Larry Helman was shot twice – once in the back and again in the front – splitting his colon and taking off the top of his hip bone. Martin is accused of holding Atta Helman at gunpoint and refusing to allow her back into the home after shoving her against a freezer and pushing her outside. Gary Helman’s body was found in the back bedroom of the residence and he was pronounced dead at the scene from gunshot wounds, according to court papers.

When police interviewed Foster and Martin, Martin said that after months without success of apprehended Gary Helman that Barnett’s Bail Bonds came to him with an idea they had hatched with local reporter Staley.

“In return, the reporter would get a good story and exclusive interviews,” court papers state. “Her payment was supposed to be getting the ‘scoop’ and interviews for the news story that this event would manufacture. She still wanted to do the story even after the shooting. ... Staley provided information to the civilian bounty hunters hoping to boost her notoriety and/or the notoriety and readership of The Papers by being the first reporter on the scene of a violent confrontation.”

As a result of the shooting, according to court documents, Larry Helman incurred medical expenses billed in the amount of $69,639.68. Larry and Atta Helman also sought counseling following the incident and incurred expenses in the total amount of $1,250.

A six-person jury is expected to be seated this morning, and the trial is docketed to last through the week.