Goshen man pleads guilty to murder of 81-year-old

An 'utterly reprehensible' crime: Devin Giordano and Jennifer P. Molyneaux will be sentenced in March


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  • Devin Giordano (Photo provided)




  • Jennifer P. Molyneaux (Photo provided)



BY ERIKA NORTON

— Devin Giordano, 22, of Goshen pleaded guilty in Orange County Court Tuesday to several crimes, including the murder of an elderly woman during a burglary and setting the victim’s house on fire.

Before Judge Nicholas De Rosa, Giordano admitted that he and an accomplice — his then-girlfriend, Jennifer P. Molyneaux of Wallkill — entered a Goshen home in 2014 to steal money from 81-year-old Helen Mills. When Mills resisted, Molyneaux killed Mills and Giordano intentionally lit a match to set the house ablaze with the intention to destroy evidence.

Giordano pleaded guilty to all the charges against him, including murder in the second degree, burglary in the first degree, tampering with physical evidence, and arson in third degree. Prosecutors told Judge De Rosa that the District Attorney’s Office would be recommending a sentence of 20 years to life in state prison for both Giordano and Molyneaux.

Giordano’s attorney, Ben Ostrer of Goshen, declined to comment.

DA cites drugs-and-violence nexusOn Feb. 25, 2015, Molyneaux, now 18, admitted to Judge De Rosa that she killed Mills on Aug. 2, 2014, and that Giordano was also involved in the burglary and subsequent murder. She admitted to entering Mill’s residence at 84 Green St. in Goshen with the intention of stealing money. She admitted to placing her hands on Mills’ throat, hitting her, and smothering her with a pillow before spilling gasoline around the house and setting it ablaze.

Molyneaux also said she had taken drugs prior to committing the crime.

The Village of Goshen's police and fire departments responded to the fire at Mills’ two-story home at about 4 a.m. An autopsy revealed Mills had suffered blunt force trauma wounds about her head and throat injuries consistent with her having been beaten and strangled.

During the investigation, evidence indicating arson was also found in several locations within the residence, including in Mills’ bedroom in the vicinity where her body was found.

“It is utterly reprehensible that anyone would kill a defenseless, elderly, woman in her own bedroom just to get money,” said Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler in a statement. “There is a nexus between illicit narcotics and violent crime. We must hold accountable those who violently victimize defenseless citizens to get money to feed their drug habits. Even though Helen Mills knew nothing about heroin, the opioid epidemic took her life also.”

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Leah Canton and Assistant District Attorney Christopher Kelly. Both Giordano and Molyneaux are scheduled to be sentenced on March 24.

"We must hold accountable those who violently victimize defenseless citizens to get money to feed their drug habits. Even though Helen Mills knew nothing about heroin, the opioid epidemic took her life also.”
Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler


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