PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An elderly funeral director, accused of killing a man during an argument, has been found guilty of third-degree murder.
Welsh entered the Allegheny County Courthouse all week pushed in a wheelchair by his family. But late Friday, after his bond was revoked, he left the courtroom in a wheelchair guided by sheriff’s deputies.
Judge Tom Flaherty ruled that the shooting death of 58-year-old William Menni at a Homestead construction site next to Welsh’s funeral home last year was the result of third-degree murder. Judge Flaherty found malice and found no self-defense justification.
The two had an intense feud that boiled over when authorities say Welsh fired two shots into Menni’s neck. Officials say the two got into an argument over payment for demolition work Menni did for Welsh.
Welsh’s family though argued they were afraid of Menni who they say constantly threatened them.
But at the time of his arrest, Welsh was not apologetic.
During the trial, Welsh required headphones and a transcript so he could follow along. He had been on house arrest until today’s conviction.
“I went to the door to his funeral home, and it’s a three-story home. I went to the door. I could hear the TV outside, and just that past week his hearing declined, so I asked what happened and he’s looking at the TV and the TV is at 95 when ordinarily 20, 21 is pretty loud,” said defense attorney Frank Walker. “It’s at 95, and that was okay for him.”
Hearing problems, as well as arthritis, liver disease and mobility issues will affect where he is placed in the state correctional system. Traditionally, elderly inmates and those with medical issues are placed at Laurel Highlands Prison in Somerset County.
“He was understanding; he was positive, but again, I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet, and I don’t know if it will sink in until you hear the words of the sentence – that you’re now committed to this facility for so many years,” says Walker.
He will be sentenced June 5. Welsh faces five to 40 years for the third-degree murder conviction, but any sentence at his age could be a life sentence.
“There’s no winners,” says his defense attorney. “I mean there are no winners here. On one side, you have someone who’s passed away, and on the other side you have someone who is facing the penalty for the rest of their life, so there’s no winners in homicide cases,” Walker said.
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