|Occupation||Former street gang leader|
Helen Braidwell (alias Cassidy Cornell) was the matriarch of the Phalanx "street family" in New York City. She was found guilty of manslaughter after inciting her lover Cole Roderick to kill former classmate Shelby Crawford. (SVU: "Streetwise")
A student at the exclusive Saint Winnifred's School, Helen Braidwell felt stifled by her privileged, comfortable life and ran away from her home on Park Avenue to join the Phalanx, a "family" of homeless children led by Cole Roderick. In order to convince Roderick that she was worthy, Helen claimed to be a runaway named Cassidy Cornell, who ran away from an abusive home where her mother forced her into prostitution in order to feed a drug habit. Cole believed her story, and she began to ingratiate herself to him.
Some time later, Larissa Rhedd, Cole Roderick's original "wife", was caught having sex with a drug dealer. Cole allowed "Cassidy" to decide the punishment. Helen/Cassidy expelled Larissa from Phalanx, and the girl soon found a new family. Helen/Cassidy, meanwhile, became Roderick's new lover. Shortly after, one of the "kids", Byrnesy Ross, threatened to undermine Roderick's authority, so Roderick declared that any who disrespected him must die. Needless to say, Ross was killed. This was a retroactive decree, and so Rhedd was tracked down and murdered as well.
A few months later, one of Helen/Cassidy's former friends, Shelby Crawford found her in the park with the Phalanx kids and in fear of being discovered, Helen/Cassidy claimed that Shelby insulted Cole, leading to Cole murdering Shelby and dumping her body in the woods, keeping one of Shelby's very expensive earrings to pawn for food. It was shortly after the murder that Josie Knox, a family member pawned the earring which would later get the family traced to the murder. Cole killed Josie for her 'betrayal' and with Helen/Cassidy's confession traced Cole to a warehouse.
After Cole's trial for the murders, her parents found her picture on the paper's front page with Stabler and attempted to take Helen home. Helen was put on trial for second-degree manslaughter in Crawford's death and was convicted and is serving the maximum sentence in Bedford Hills.