Grandson to serve life in prison for killing grandmother -, GA News Weather & Sports

Grandson to serve life in prison for killing grandmother

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email 

COLUMBUS, GA  (WXTX) - A 17 year old boy will now spend the rest of his life in prison after admitting to killing his grandmother nearly two years ago.

Ethan Welch entered a guilty plea in court Monday morning to the 2009 stabbing death of his 59 year old grandmother Brenda Cook. The brutal nature of this murder, mixed with the defendant's age, is responsible for his time behind bars.

Police say Ethan Welch was 15 when he stabbed his grandmother with a steak skewer. Instead of calling for help, or trying to save his dying caretaker, he left her to bleed to death while he played video games. Monday a judge decided how he will pay for that crime.

With a single word: guilty, 17 year old Ethan Welch admitted to murdering his grandmother.

His attorney Steve Craft told News Leader Nine, "After lengthy discussions with Ethan about the nature of the case and the evidence, he didn't want to put his family through any more than they have already gone through. It's a terrible tragedy in the first place and this would only magnify the pain for himself and the family and he chose not to do that."

Welch admitted to taking a life, and in turn he signed over his own, sentenced to life in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Don Kelly explained, "My concern was not really his age, my concern was an explanation for what happened because it was an extremely brutal crime and I didn't feel I could justify to the citizens doing anything other than a life sentence without some explanation of what happened there, which I was never able to receive."

The murder happened nearly two years ago, and during that time, Craft says several people have taken a close look at the case, "Because of his age, I thought it appropriate the case be reviewed by an additional attorney and undergo a psychological evaluation."

Craft adds Welch's age also played a role in just how much time he would spend behind bars, "All of us believe life was the most likely outcome because of his age, it was unlikely he'd get life without parole sentence."

Family members say despite what Welch told the judge, they don't believe he is capable of this brutal killing. His paternal grandmother, Gail Stewart told said, "I have always said Ethan did not do this. He can't even stand the sight of blood. I told him I love him and God is in control. Ethan did not do this."

Now the family has to deal with losing the life of 59 year old Brenda Cook and now the life of Ethan.

"I think they're glad it's over with and I think they are very conflicted because they were related to both the defendant and the victim," said Kelly.

Craft added, "They're sad at the loss of a family member and sad at fact this young man is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. It's distressing on both sides of the issue. Nobody knows the why, we just know the what."

Ethan Welch has already served two years at the youth detention facility and will be transported to prison for his life sentence. He will be eligible for parole in 30 years.


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