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Judge says no to Stand Your Ground for Jacksonville man who killed party host with 1 swing of baseball bat in spat over barbecue

Posted: August 7, 2014 - 6:18pm  |  Updated: August 7, 2014 - 6:24pm
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A Jacksonville man who killed a party host with a baseball bat in a spat over barbecue will not get protection under the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

Alvin Kenneth “Chico” Welch, 35, said he was acting in self-defense when he hit 31-year-old Joshua Andrew Heinz at the host’s Santa Fe Street house during a gathering in January to watch the NFL playoffs.

Circuit Judge Adrian G. Soud said Thursday that the burden of proof was on Welch to prove that he was acting in self-defense, and that burden was not met.

According to Welch’s Stand Your Ground motion, about 11 p.m. he and others at the party were getting ready to leave and preparing plates of food to take with them.

Heinz became upset at the way Welch was cutting the meat and knocked the plate of food and carving knife from his hand.

Welch thought Heinz had the knife, according to the motion, and was scared by his sudden aggressive behavior toward him.

He tried to avoid danger by running toward the front door, but Heinz ran after him. Welch saw a baseball bat next to the door, picked it up and hit Heinz on the side of the head. Welch’s lawyers said he believed Heinz was chasing him with a knife when he picked up the bat and swung it. They said that entitles him to immunity under Stand Your Ground, the controversial law that says someone in fear for his life does not have a duty to retreat.

Welch testified that he hit Heinz in the head once, and his swing was “up and over.” But Soud pointed out that when Welch was first questioned by detectives, he said he hit Heinz with a side swing to the head.

The physical injuries Heinz suffered are inconsistent with Welch’s story, Soud said.

The blunt force scalp impact was on the left side of the head just above the ear, and that contradicts the “up and over” claim, the judge said.

Welch’s cousin at the party also contradicted his story when he testified that Welch was talking to himself after he left the apartment and saying things like “ain’t nobody going to just talk to me like that.”

“Such words do not belong to a man who had just been threatened with a very large knife,” Soud said in his written ruling. “They belong to this defendant, who immediately struck Mr. Heinz in the head with a wooden baseball bat.”

Defense attorney Ann Finnell indicated she would appeal Soud’s ruling. She declined further comment Thursday.

Welch’s second-degree murder trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 10. If convicted, he could get life in prison.

Family members of Heinz declined to comment after Soud’s ruling.


Larry Hannan: (904) 359-4470

Comments (1)

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Max mutt
Max mutt 08/07/14 - 08:22 pm

Obvious decision, not

Obvious decision, not anywhere close to SYG.
That is how SYG works, judges know when it applies, it is and never was a license to kill.

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