At 87, new legal life for inmate in Helen Brach case

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's most vexing crime mystery, the murder of candy heiress Helen Brach 40-years ago, once again has the attention of a federal judge and the U.S. attorney.

The I-Team has learned that gigolo/con man Richard Bailey, the only man ever convicted in connection with the Brach conspiracy, filed a motion on his own to have his 1997 case re-opened, and Senior District Judge Milton Shadur has now ordered federal prosecutors to respond.

Helen Brach

I-Team file

Bailey, the aged horse swindler and former Brach boyfriend, is 87 years old and serving a 30-year federal sentence for conspiring to kill "the Candy Lady." His previous legal attempts at challenging his sentence - including this year before the Supreme Court-have all failed.

A five page motion researched and written by Bailey in the Coleman penitentiary in Florida was filed in Chicago late last month. He pleaded guilty to multiple racketeering and fraud counts-but was sentenced on the "preponderance of evidence" that he was actually Helen Brach's killer as well-an allegation Bailey has always denied. Preponderance is a less rigorous standard used in sentencing, as opposed to "beyond a reasonable doubt" required during trial.

Richard Bailey

I-Team file

Bailey's motion "asserts actual innocence -- not of the crime to which he pleaded guilty, but of the far more serious crime of Helen Brach's murder" wrote Judge Shadur, who was also the trial court judge in the original Bailey case. Shadur calls Bailey's motion an "articulate presentation of his arguments then and now" and the judge has ordered federal prosecutors to respond by August 18.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago declined to comment on Monday but has assigned a prosecutor to prepare the government's response.

While legal experts do not give Bailey much hope for success, in a letter to the I-Team received today Richard Bailey expresses optimism about his prospects for release. He says he expects to be out of prison soon.

Helen Brach's body has never been found but she has been declared dead-according to some investigators her remains disposed of in a blast furnace or chemical pit, with help from the Chicago Outfit.
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