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Last week, a convicted felon pleaded guilty to a possession of firearms charge following his arrest last year. Leroy Allen Welch was arrested in November 2022 after two men reported that he threatened them and then fired a gun near both of them.
DouglasNow previously reported that officers were dispatched to a local business on September 8 and spoke to an individual who reportedly showed law enforcement a cell phone video of Welch holding a black pistol. The video, according to the report, also showed Welch stating, "I'll kill all you mother f***** and disassemble your bodies, and I'll spread y'all across the g** d*** county," and that he'd "kill everyone in the world." The officer also noted that Welch exhibited the mannerisms of someone who was "possibly under the influence" at the time.
The officer placed Welch under arrest who then reportedly admitted to having a pocket knife and "a little bit of weed" in his pocket before the search was conducted, which the officer retrieved. While the officer was conducting the search, two other officers on the scene reportedly located two .380 caliber shell cases, one in the road and the other under a truck.
During a hearing in the Superior Court of Coffee County last Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney John Rumker gave a briefing of facts to the judge regarding the case. He stated that he had spoken to the victim, and they were satisfied with the plea agreement, as long as Welch stayed away from him. Rumker also stated that the video "clearly showed" Welch holding the pistol and that the shell cases matched the gun, which belonged to Welch’s daughter. However, because Welch was a convicted felon, possessing a gun in any form or circumstance is prohibited.
Welch spent May 2004 until September 2009 in prison for five separate local burglary convictions and was released from prison on September 23, 2009.
Judge Dewayne Gillis told Welch that he was more than likely the judge at the time of his 2004 conviction. "It was probably you and I here back then," he stated. "I feel like I've failed you." Welch responded, "No, sir, I failed myself." Welch then pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, with the other charges being dismissed.
Judge Gillis accepted the plea and sentenced Welch to ten years of probation. He will also have to pay a $2,500 fine, have no contact with the victims in the case, and follow other conditions of his bond. If Welch fails to do so, his sentence can be amended, and he would be facing the possibility of returning to prison.
Judge Gillis closed, "I hope I'm not making a mistake by accepting this plea and giving this sentence, but if I am, I won't make this mistake again. Don't let it come to that."
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