Husband sentenced to life in prison for wife’s 13-year-old unsolved murder

In a packed courtroom, a Minnesota judge sentenced a man to life in prison without parole Thursday for the death of his first wife, 13 years after he shot her and lied to investigators that it happened during a home invasion.

Several of Heidi Firkus’ friends and family gave emotional victim impact statements before the judge sentenced Nick Firkus, 40, for his crimes. For years, Nick Firkus maintained his innocence and that a mysterious intruder was involved in her death.

However, prosecutors argued there was no evidence to support his claims of an intruder and suggested he had lied to his wife about their debts.

“Every murder is a tragedy. This is particularly impressive. He hid behind his status for too many years,” said Elizabeth Lamin, assistant district attorney for Ramsey County, Minnesota.

On April 25, 2010, Heidi Firkus called 911 saying there was a burglary at the couple’s home and stopped talking after a gunshot, according to audio of the call. Police found her dead and her husband with a gunshot wound to the leg.

“20/20” will take an in-depth look at Heidi Firkus’ murder and the 13-year investigation in an episode airing this Friday at 9pm ET and streaming the next day on Hulu.

Nick Firkus told investigators he fought over a shotgun with the intruder and that it went off, hitting both him and his wife.

Firkus also told officers the couple was facing serious financial problems and would be evicted, but he and Heidi were keeping those problems a secret from family and friends.

No suspects were named and no arrests were made for years.

However, investigators were still looking into Nick Firkus’ role in his wife’s death, especially since there were inconsistencies in his story. There were no signs of a break-in and only Nick Firkus’ DNA was found on the rifle.

Firkus was arrested in May 2021 and charged with first and second degree murder. Prosecutors said Nick Firkus killed his wife to hide the shame of his financial problems.

Jurors convicted Nick Firkus of both charges on February 10 after deliberating for four hours.

Peter Erickson, Heidi Firkus’ brother, lashed out at Nick Firkus during his impact statement.

“The lies we were told the day after her murder, along with the pressure to believe them, made it virtually impossible to find an end to our grief as the shock set in after Heidi’s murder. We quickly realized that everything Nick was telling us was that she betrayed who I knew as her sister,” he said.

“The fact that he had the audacity to spread a story that was so clearly out of character for Heidi was and still is very insulting and insulting to me and everyone else who actually knew and loved her.”

Linda Erickson, the victim’s mother, became emotional during her statement as she thought about the years of life lost.

“Because of one man’s unthinkable actions, she was robbed and those who loved her were robbed of being on this adventure with her,” Linda Erickson said.

Nick Firkus’ lawyers say their client’s story is the truth and that his wife’s death was caused by the break-in.

Nick Firkus himself has spoken out, reiterating his claims that he did not kill his wife, saying, “my body is condemned to serve another man’s crimes, but my soul is free.”

Editor’s note: An original version of this story misstated how long the jury deliberated in the Nick Firkus murder trial. They discussed for four hours. This story has also been updated to clarify that Firkus’ legal team denies that Firkus lied to his wife, Heidi, about their financial problems.

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