Joann Helfrich
Joann Helfrich

A York City woman must spend the rest of her life in prison for murdering her live-in boyfriend inside their York City home more than two years ago.

Joann Helfrich, 51, received the only possible sentence possible for her first-degree murder conviction - life without the possibility of parole.

She shot 59-year-old Fred A. McClure at least seven times inside their 404 Piedmont Circle apartment the afternoon of Oct. 12, 2010, trial testimony revealed.

Helfrich briefly addressed the court during her sentencing Monday morning before Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder, telling McClure's family how much she loved him, according to chief deputy prosecutor Jennifer Russell.

But the prosecutor said Helfrich previously told police she planned to leave McClure.

Jury unmoved: Helfrich maintains she shot McClure because she thought he was an intruder, but jurors weren't swayed by her claims. She'd also told police she was asleep when McClure came in and that it was too dark inside to see who he was.

But prosecution testimony -- including Helfrich's phone records -- showed she wasn't asleep when she said she was, and that there was plenty of light inside the apartment for her to have recognized McClure.

Testimony also revealed Helfrich picked up several spent shell casings and put them in a kitchen trash can.

Russell said she believes Helfrich murdered McClure in cold blood, then concocted the "intruder" story to try to avoid the consequences of her actions.

Helfrich's defense attorney, Matthew Monaghan, declined comment on Monday.

Also speaking in court on Monday were McClure's sons, Michael and Gary Schwartz, according to Russell. They talked about how much they love their father, and the pain of losing him, she said.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.