Nicholas Firkus trial: Opening statements Friday for man accused of killing wife in 2010

Nicholas James Firkus is charged in the death of his 2010 death of his wife Heidi Firkus (Ramsey County Jail)

Opening statements in the trial of Nicholas Firkus, who is accused of fatally shooting his wife in 2010, are expected to begin Friday afternoon. 

Firkus, who is charged with first-degree murder in 2021, claimed his wife, Heidi Firkus, was killed in a home invasion in the early morning hours of April 25, 2010. 

According to the criminal charges against Firkus, police received two 911 calls from Heidi’s cell phone that morning, one from Heidi reporting that someone was trying to break in and one from Nicholas, reporting someone had broken into their home and that he and Heidi had been shot while trying to run away.  

When police arrived, they found Heidi unresponsive in the kitchen, with a gunshot wound to her back. Nicholas was beside her on the floor, talking to the 911 operator. He was "highly emotional," the charges say, and had a gunshot wound to his left thigh. He was taken to the hospital. Heidi was pronounced dead at the scene.

Nicholas told police at the time that someone broke into their home in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood around 6:30 a.m. and he grabbed a shotgun. He said he struggled with the intruder and the gun went off twice, hitting Heidi in the back and him in the leg. 

Nicholas also told police he and his wife were behind on their bills and their house was being foreclosed on. They had to be out of the house the next day, but had not told any of their friends or family yet.

The investigation revealed Nicholas was served with foreclosure in June 2009 and their house was sold at a sheriff’s auction soon after, 10 months before Heidi was killed. Eviction proceedings had been filed in February, and an eviction hearing was held on March 8, 2010, which Nicholas attended alone. The lockout date was originally set for April 9, 2010. Nicholas called the attorneys and stated his grandmother was in hospice and about to die and asked to move it to April 26, 2010. However, investigators found no evidence that either of his grandmothers were in hospice or died in 2010.

Authorities do not believe Heidi knew about the foreclosure or the lockout. According to the charges, she had not mentioned anything about the foreclosure or lockout date to family or friends and had recently been talking about selling their house, although at the time the house had already been sold at the sheriff’s auction, and they had no house to sell.

Investigators did not find any unidentified DNA profiles on the gun or DNA swabs from the door to the house. No sound of a struggle was heard during the 911 calls, and no evidence from the scene suggested the incident occurred as Nicholas described.  

Heidi's family issued a statement following the news of Nicholas' arrest in 2021

"We're extremely grateful for all those who have worked so hard and long to get the case to this point. And also for everyone who has prayed and stood beside us all these years," the statement read. "We are hopeful that these charges will finally bring out the truth and result in justice for Heidi. Even though we know we can't have her back, we believe Heidi would want us to have the truth. God is honored by truth. Heidi's life and memory is further honored by truth."