Joann Helfrich
Joann Helfrich (submitted)
Grace Babner was overcome with confusion and grief Wednesday morning, not long after her daughter was arraigned on a charge of criminal homicide.

"She's a good person; she works all the time," said Grace Babner, Joann Helfrich's mother.

Babner said she heard of her daughter's arrest -- in the killing her live-in boyfriend at their home -- Tuesday night on a local television news program.

"I'm not prepared to talk," she said. "It's just too much for me right now."

York City Police charged Helfrich, 49, with the shooting death of her boyfriend, Fred McClure, 59. Police were called to the couple's apartment at 404 Piedmont Circle at 3:49 p.m. Tuesday, where they found Helfrich outside, screaming.

Helfrich had called 911, saying she had shot an intruder, police said.

But Wednesday, York City Police Capt. Ron Camacho said Helfrich told investigators "some conflicting accounts of what happened."

Charging documents state that Helfrich also told police she fired six shots from her .22 Walther pistol at McClure.

An autopsy on McClure's body Wednesday morning confirmed that he died of multiple gunshot wounds and that the manner of death was homicide, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

On Wednesday at Pine Hill Village, residents were stunned at the news that McClure had been killed.

Resident Vincent Jones Jr., 41, said he saw Helfrich and McClure together only a couple times, in a vehicle.

"I always knew him as the maintenance man," Jones said of McClure.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jones left his home to go to a college class and saw some police vehicles nearby but didn't think much of it. He found out what happened when he returned that evening.

"I was kind of like, wow, that's close to home," he said.

Pine Hill Village resident Kevin Hewett, 20, said he had lived in the complex for about two months and did not know Helfrich or McClure.

"I was here earlier in the day, before anything happened," he said. "I came home, it (the area around the house) was taped off, cops all around, everything blocked off."

Hewett was puzzled by Helfrich telling police she had shot an intruder.

"If the guy works here, he's in and out of houses all the time -- how are you going to blow the guy away with six shots? It doesn't really make sense," he said.

Other residents declined to comment, saying they had either just moved to the complex or did not know Helfrich and McClure.

The business office at Pine Hill Village was locked, and a phone message went unanswered Wednesday.

tczech@ydr.com; 771-2033

The case

York City Police charged Joann Helfrich, 49, of 404 Piedmont Circle, York, with one count of criminal homicide in the Tuesday shooting death of her boyfriend, Fred McClure.

Helfrich was arraigned Wednesday at Central Booking in the York County Judicial Center and was placed in York County Prison without bail.

She has an Oct. 22 preliminary hearing before District Justice Richard E. Martin II.