This week The 1980s: The Deadliest Decade examines the murder of Helen Mintiks by the so-called Phantom Killer of the Opera, who turned out to be a young stage hand.
It was July 23, 1980, at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York when 31-year-old violinist Helen Hagnes Mintiks left the orchestra pit for a break around 9.30, it was the last time anyone would see her alive.
Her body was found lying across a beam in a ventilation shaft behind the building and police quickly mounted a high profile investigation.
Around a month later they arrested 22-year-old stage hand Craig S. Crimmins, who confessed to the killing after hours of interrogation.
The Assistant District Attorney explained that Mintiks had used her break to try and speak with the the guest star of the show about meeting with her husband, who is a sculpture.
She was taking the lift when Crimmins said something to Mintiks to make her slap him on the face. He then forced her down a stairwell where he attempted to rape her, making her remove a tampon. She tried to escape but was caught and then pushed back up to the sixth floor.
It was here that Crimmins bound and gagged Mintiks before cut her clothes off. When she managed to call out again he kicked her over the edge where she fell to her death.
Crimmins defense argued that he’d been pressured by the police to confess, but the jury convicted him and he was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
The 1980s: The Deadliest Decade airs on Mondays at 9:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.
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