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Pa. man, 89, ordered to trial on homicide charge

on August 10, 2013 1:10 AM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A defense attorney says an elderly western Pennsylvania funeral director acted in self-defense when he shot and killed a man following a dispute over a vacant home.

William Welsh, 89, was ordered Friday to stand trial in Allegheny County in the July 26 shooting death of William Menni, 58, of McKees Rocks. Formal arraignment for Welsh, who attended the hearing but did not address the court, is scheduled Sept. 10.

Defense attorney Frank Walker said Welsh “used a firearm in defense of Mr. Menni pushing him” and should not be charged with homicide. He said the case should be considered self-defense or involuntary manslaughter, and added that his client is “definitely remorseful.”

Walker said his client cared for a vacant house near his funeral home for a California-based owner, and Menni was doing demolition work on the property. The two had agreed that Menni would be paid in installments, but he had become unhappy with that arrangement and repeatedly threatened Welsh in the weeks preceding the shooting, Walker said.

On the day of the shooting, Welsh “tried to leave on three occasions and Mr. Menni grabbed him, turned him around,” Walker said. He said he plans to seek his client’s release from Allegheny County jail on bail, arguing that he isn’t a flight risk or a danger to society.


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