PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A 90-year-old funeral home director, who was convicted of shooting and killing a man, was sentenced to 6 to 12 years in prison Thursday morning.
In April, Judge Tom Flaherty found William Welsh guilty of third-degree murder in the death of 58-year-old William Menni.
The pair got into an argument over payment for some demolition work in Homestead. Menni was shot twice.
Welsh told police he fired in self-defense. Judge Flaherty found malice and found no self-defense justification.
Welsh’s family, though, argued they were afraid of Menni who they say constantly threatened them.
Homestead Mayor Betty Esper, a longtime friend of Welsh’s, testified as a character witness.
“There’s no winners here,” she said. “The Menni’s lost a father, lost a husband, of course, the mother lost a son. You never should bury your children, as she said. And the Welsh family is devastated by it all. They lost their father, and it’s tough to see your father go to jail at 90.”
Before sentencing, those supporting the 91-year-old argued he had never been in trouble with the law before and asked the judge to consider that Welsh was a veteran of World War II and had begun to show signs of memory loss. The victim’s supporters countered that William Menni was a father of two, who will miss ever seeing his grandchildren. His son Jason told the court, Welsh left a crater in their lives.
“I accept responsibility, and I am sorry for the pain I have caused the Menni family and my family,” Welsh said in his only statement.
Hearing problems, as well as arthritis, liver disease and mobility issues will affect where he is placed in the state correctional system. His only request to the court is that he be sent to a unit with special considerations or a geriatric unit. Traditionally, elderly inmates and those with medical issues are placed at Laurel Highlands Prison in Somerset County.
Welsh faced a five to 40-year sentence for the third-degree murder conviction.