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Man Found Guilty and Sentenced to 25 Years for Drug Possession
News Release
Thursday, March 01, 2018

GALVESTON – On Wednesday, Willard Welch, 36, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for possession of a controlled substance between 4 to 200 grams.

On Monday, 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 traffic stop.

According to 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 the State.

The punishment 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.

After 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

Welch 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.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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