State court upholds murder conviction

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 22, 2009

From AP and staff reports

JACKSON — The 2007 murder conviction of David Welch has been upheld by the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

Welch, 43, was sentenced to life in prison by then-Warren County Circuit Court Judge Frank Vollor for the shooting death of Cetric Ladell Griffin, who was 24.

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A jury found Welch guilty of shooting Griffin on April 21, 2006, in Welch’s trailer at 310 Massey Road, a short unpaved road off Warriors Trail. Griffin’s body was found outside the trailer around 9:30 a.m. with gunshot wounds in his chest and head.

Welch’s defense attorneys, John McNeal and Chris Ganner of Jackson, claimed at his trial that Welch initially called 911 reporting he had shot and killed an intruder who accosted him in his home with a sawed-off shotgun. Later Welch said the first shot resulted from a struggle over the gun after Griffin entered his home “without permission,” and that the second and fatal shot, to Griffin’s head, was fired in self-defense.

Prosecutors showed, however, that Welch knew Griffin, that the two had “partied together” with beer and drugs all night with a third man, Bobby Miller, preceding the shooting and that Miller had witnessed Welch shooting Griffin in the head.

In addition, Welch admitted on the stand that he owned the shotgun, and that he and Griffin had disputed about money.

In its written ruling, the Appeals Court denied Welch’s request for a new trial or a reduction of the verdict to manslaughter.

The court found “without merit” Welch’s claim that the shooting occurred during a struggle over the gun, citing eyewitness testimony as well as the physical evidence.

Chief Appeals Court Judge Leslie D. King and associate judges Tyree Irving and Virginia C. Carlton presided.