GALVESTON – Today, Willard Welch, 36,
was sentenced to 25 years in prison for possession of a controlled substance
between 4 to 200 grams.
February 26, 2018, Welch’s jury trial began in the 212th District
Court. The State presented evidence that on October 18, 2016 Willard Welch was
found in possession of illegal narcotics after being the subject of a routine
trial testimony and other evidence, a deputy with the Galveston County
Sheriff’s Office observed a vehicle with a defective brake lamp. The deputy
attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle and the driver did not
immediately yield. The driver, later identified as Willard Welch, rolled into a
driveway and further into the front yard. The deputy believed Welch was going
to attempt to flee on foot so the deputy exited his vehicle. Welch eventually
stopped and became belligerent as to why the deputy was stopping him. Upon a
further investigation, the deputy located several packages of a crystalized
substance near Welch. The substance was believed to be methamphetamine and
later tested positive. Welch was arrested and charged with Possession of a
Controlled Substance between 4 to 200 Grams, a second degree felony.
A chemist from
the Texas Department of Public Safety was called to testify and explained that
the lab results confirmed the presence of methamphetamine and the substance
weighed more than four grams.
The jury heard
closing arguments on Monday afternoon and then retired to deliberate. The jury
returned Tuesday morning with a guilty verdict. Welch faced a punishment range
of 25 years to life because of two or more prior felony convictions alleged by
phase of the trial began Wednesday morning. During punishment, the State
presented evidence of Willard’s felony convictions from 2001 and 2014. In 2001
Willard was convicted of Aggravated Robbery and Attempting to Take a Weapon
from a Peace Officer. In 2014 he was convicted of Felony Theft and Evading
Arrest/Detention with a Vehicle.
considering the evidence and testimony, the jury deliberated Wednesday
afternoon before returning approximately three hours later. The jury returned
with a verdict of twenty-five years in the Institutional Division of the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice. Welch will have to serve at least one-fourth of
his sentence before being eligible for parole
was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Patrick Gurski and Gina Gilmore
in the 212th District Court, with Judge Patricia Grady presiding. The
investigations were conducted by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.