Mesa man gets 20-year prison term for killing mother with frying pan, hammer

PHOENIX (AP) - A Mesa man accused of killing his mother with a frying pan and hammer in 2013 has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Maricopa County prosecutors say 18-year-old Michael Helms also was sentenced Monday to five years of probation.

Helms pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder and aggravated assault.

He originally faced first-degree murder and other charges in the Oct. 25, 2013 death of Tina Helms Spencer and a nonfatal attack on his stepfather.

Authorities say Helms - then 16 - struck his mother with a frying pan and hammer, choked her, dragged her body to a backyard shed and cleaned up the scene.

He also was accused of striking his stepfather with a frying pan and choking him. The stepfather managed to break free and call police.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press modified.

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