Accused Killer of Dubuque Woman Pleads Guilty

A man accused of sexually assaulting and killing a woman in Dubuque three years ago has changed his plea to guilty.

Twenty-two-year-old Helmon Betwell was sentenced yesterday(Thur) to life in prison without the possibility of parole, after he entered the new plea. The sexual assault charge was dismissed. Betwell’s trial had been scheduled to begin next week.

Police say he attacked 66-year-old Nancy Krapfl on Sept. 1, 2015, as she was walking in Dubuque.

In April last year a judge ruled Betwell was competent for trial after his lawyers had questioned his ability to help prepare his defense.

A defense expert had said Betwell has an intellectual disability that prevents him from understanding the proceedings, but the judge said subnormal intelligence is just one consideration in a competency decision.