Judge grants Hvarven bond in capital murder case

Robert Aaron Hvarven

Robert Aaron Hvarven’s bond was set for $100,000 by Twelfth Circuit Court Judge Jeff Kelley on June 4 after a five-hour long motion to reconsider bond hearing on May 30.

Hvarven, 41, is charged with capital murder in the 2007 murders of Scott Heib and James Matthew Helms and has sat in the Coffee County Jail on no bond since his arrest on Oct. 2, 2018. The murders allegedly took place sometime during the late night of Oct. 1, 2007 or early Oct. 2.

The bond hearing began with defense attorney Gary Bradshaw questioning Enterprise Police Department Sgt. Mark Anderson regarding DNA evidence in the case.

Bradshaw asked Anderson if he remembered testifying in 2018 that Robert Hvarven was “the only suspect.” Anderson said he did.

Bradshaw then started to ask about possible other suspects and whether the EPD followed-up on them in 2007.

A blue paper towel, found near the bypass and Alabama Highway 27, had the blood of Robert Charles Tice III on it and was “not in close proximity” to the alleged revolver used in the murders. The gun was found between Damascus Road and Airport Road.

Twelfth Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Mary Katherine Head pointed out the towel was not found near or on the property of the victims and was in close vicinity to farm property that Tice owned.

Bradshaw asked if it was possible that if the gun had been wrapped in a towel for the wind to blow the towel away.

“If we had a good storm, I’m sure it could blow it for miles and miles,” Anderson replied.

Anderson explained that Tice was never seen as a suspect due to having no real connection to the victims and the proximity in which the towel was found to his property.

Bradshaw then asked Anderson if the DNA evidence from a bloody fingerprint found on Heib’s doorknob excluded the defendant.

Head said that no one was excluded because the fingerprint gathered was not able to be used to identify anyone.

Anderson confirmed Head’s statement.

Bradshaw brought up an interview with Heather Helms, James Matthew “Matt” Helm’s sister, and her reference to a man named Mark or Mike that worked at The Rawls restaurant.

He said that she testified James Helms said if anything ever happened to him that it could be Mark.

Head said that later in the interview, Heather Helms said James Helms said the same thing about Robert Hvarven. Head also pointed out that Heather Helms testified that James Helms had filed paperwork against Robert Hvarven for slashing his tires. Anderson confirmed these statements.

Bradshaw asked Anderson if he knew if EPD had tried to find and question Mark.

Anderson said he did not know.

Bradshaw then brought up a statement by Jearod Caudill where Caudill said, “Mark showed up at Matt’s house and Scott ran him off with a shotgun.”

Again, Head pointed out that Caudill also told officers that James Helms had told Caudill that if anything ever happened to him, it was Robert Hvarven.

Anderson confirmed that the synopsis of the interview contained both of these events.

Bradshaw asked Anderson if with all that being said, Anderson would consider Mark a suspect.

“Yes,” Anderson replied. “I believe they should have been talked to.”

Bradshaw then brought up Shaine Godbey, whose wife, Charly Godbey, was having a “physical relationship” with Heib.

Shaine Godbey also told officers that he had mental illnesses and that his dead grandmother talked to him.

“He told your department that he was going to be arrested for the murder of Scott Heib,” Bradshaw said. “He said Granny told him Scott was dead and he was going to be accused of it.”

Anderson said the interview transcripts showed that he did tell officers that.

Shaine Godbey also told officers that he had a “flash” where he saw himself punching Heib in the face while at the grocery store and that his dead grandmother told him that his wife was only sleeping with Heib and not the other person in the house.

Bradshaw pointed out that Shaine Godbey also had a criminal record that included robbery. The alleged revolver used was stolen.

Head pointed out that Shaine Godbey always had an accomplice in his crimes and that the owner of the revolver, Dustin Kimbro said that only his grandmother and Robert Hvarven would know the pistol’s location.

Bradshaw said that in the interview with Charly Godbey,  she said Shaine Godbey said he wanted to beat up Heib.

She also said that she had been trying to stop Shaine Godbey from learning Heib’s address. She went on to say that when the two were riding around or trying get the kids to sleep, that Shaine Godbey would normally drive down or near County Road 622, which is where Heib lived.

Bradshaw also noted that Shaine Godbey tried to get back together with his wife on Oct. 1, but she rejected the offer as she wanted to be with Heib.

Heib would later that night reject Charley Godbey’s advances to get back together.

During this time, Shaine Godbey’s mother-in-law Francis Sullivan was talking to Heib over instant messenger.

She said that Shaine Godbey was “dangerous” and had “never been this bad.”

Anderson confirmed these things were said.

Head pointed out that Shaine Godbey had told officers that his parents had taken his vehicle from him.

Bradshaw pointed out that Chris Lawson visited Shaine Godbey late on Oct. 1. Bradshaw asked if Lawson had been interviewed and Anderson said no.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” Anderson said. “I definitely would have followed up.”

Bradshaw asked if Melissa Stump, formerly Melissa Hvarven, was a potential suspect as she was having an affair with James Helms.

Anderson replied that she was not a suspect due to both her small stature and time constraints.

“You’re shooting a 30-30 rifle and then you’re forcing down the door after killing Scott Heib,” Anderson said. “I don’t think she could do it.”

He also noted that the time between Stump clocking out of work and getting back to her house would not have given her enough time to commit the crimes.

Head said James Helms told multiple people if anything happened to him to look at Robert Hvarven, including Heather Helms, Kimbro, Caudill, John Ansell, James Helms’ ex-wife, Stump and both of James Helms’ parents.

She pointed out that at the time of the murders, Robert Hvarven and Stump were divorced but living together.

Head said these interviews showed that Robert Hvarven was not fine with Stump seeing James Helms like he said he was in an interview.

Ansell, a coworker of Robert Hvarven, said that Robert Hvarven would talk at work all the time about how much he didn’t like Heib and that his girl was cheating on him. Ansell said that Robert Hvarven showed him a gun with a clip when talking about the subject and even asked Ansell about getting rid of dead bodies. Ansell said after that interaction he called Robert Hvarven “nuts” and refused to work with him.

Ansell said he was 80 percent sure it was Robert Hvarven talking to him when a picture was used to confirm Robert Hvarven’s identity.

Anderson confirmed all of these statements by Head.

Kimbro said he was there when Robert Hvarven got the call that Stump wanted a divorce and that he was not happy about the news.

Bradshaw pointed that Kimbro also said that Hvarven was not as angry as he would be if he found out his girl was cheating on him.

Anderson confirmed these statements from both attorneys.

Head said that in July 2007, Robert Hvarven stayed with a friend in Colorado. This friend said Robert Hvarven talked all week about Stump and James Helms and was angry about the relationship. This friend also said that Hvarven was eager to go to a local gun shop during the visit as well.

These statements were confirmed by Anderson.

Head brought up that Robert Hvarven’s oldest son, Jacob Holley, said in 2007 that Hvarven didn’t like James Helms.

Holley said that Robert Hvarven didn’t like James Helms because Stump was divorcing Hvarven to be with James Helms.

Bradshaw pointed out that in that same interview, Holley also said that Hvarven was home around midnight or 1 a.m. on the night of the murders.

Anderson confirmed the contents of the interview contained these statements.

Bradshaw brought up the fact that EPD put up a traffic stop on County Road 622 to stop residents to see if anyone had seen Hvarven’s car. No one who was stopped had seen it.

Anderson confirmed this happened.

Regarding the guns, Anderson confirmed that a 30-30 and a .44 revolver were used in the murders. He also said that the evidence was too inconclusive to prove that the guns EPD obtained were the ones used in the murder.

He said the weapons were “consistent” to be the ones used in the murders.

Bradshaw asked if there was any tangible evidence linking Robert Hvarven to the crime.

“No sir, there is no physical evidence,” Anderson said.

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