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Teen accused of killing his mother to be charged as adult

PHOENIX — A Mesa, Ariz. teenager accused of killing his mother will be charged as an adult, police said Monday.

Sgt. Tony Landato told KTAR the incident all started with a call early Saturday morning from a man who said his stepson, Michael Roy Helms, had attacked him. When police responded, they found signs of a struggle and the body of 36-year-old Tina Helms Spencer in a shed.

“The suspect was currently grounded,” Landato said. “He’d been in trouble at school for doing some things, and that night he had a heated argument with his mother over the phone prior to her coming home from work, and it sounds like that’s what really kind of prompted all this.”

Police believe Helms struck Spencer with a frying pan and a hammer and also chocked her.

Landato said Spencer’s car and Helms were gone when they arrived. They spent the next several hours searching for Hemls. When Helms showed up at a friend’s house, detectives were waiting to arrest him. Helm’s 17-year-old friend, Christian Lee Blakely, was also booked into juvenile detention and is facing charges as an accomplice to the mother’s murder, including helping conceal the body and tampering with evidence.

“It is our understanding that after this phone call there were some comments made, intentions known by the son what he was going to do and he had asked for the friend to stay and help,” Landato said. “We believe the friend was present for it during the assault by the son on the mother and then helped after that.”

Court documents showed the teenagers used a mop and latex gloves in an attempt to cover up the crime. Blakely is also suspected of checking the news to see if anyone knew about the killing.

The stepfather who was assaulted has been treated and released from the hospital.

Helms was booked Saturday night on charges of first-degree murder of his mother, attempted first-degree murder of his stepfather, three counts of aggravated assault against the stepfather, concealment of a dead body and tampering with evidence.

KTAR’s Christina Estes and the Associated Press contributed to this report.