Man Arrested for Wife’s Murder Pleads Not Guilty: Lakeside

Andy Welch reportedly told deputies he hurt his wife "really bad"


Two days after he allegedly told San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies that he thought killed his wife, a Lakeside man plead not guilty to a murder charge in an El Cajon courtroom.

Andy Welch, 45, was arrested on one count of murder shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday when he walked into the Santee sheriff's station and said he may have killed his wife of one year at their home in the 11000 block of El Nopal Rd, according to deputies.

According to the case’s prosecutor, Scott Perillo, Welch shot his 43-year-old wife, Tonya Welch,  with a .40-caliber handgun.

At the station Welch told deputies that he had a fight with his wife the night before and that he had hurt her “really bad", Perillo said.

The deputies reportedly offered to send medics to the home but Welch declined claiming that his wife did not need them.

Deputies later found the body of a deceased woman inside the home at about 1:10 p.m.

The prosecution said deputies discovered Tonya Welch faced down in a hallway bleeding with a bullet wound in her back and chest. The cause of death was said to be a single gunshot wound to the torso.

No motive was given in the case and friends of Tonya said they were surprised Andy Welch could be capable of murder.

According to a neighbor’s son, Tonya Welch seemed angry when she left the home on Tuesday.

“She was going through the gate and all I hear is this loud screech… and she peeled out and she looked real looked frustrated and mad, “said the boy. “I have no idea why because they were a loving couple. “

Only last month, the Welchs celebrated their one year anniversary and two weeks before she was found dead, Tonya Welch left a loving for her husband on Facebook saying that she “couldn’t have been happier”.

“It sure feels good to be in love for reals [sic],” the post said, “an awesome man helps too, thank God I finally got every bit of that .”

Tonya Welch, an East County resident most of her life, leaves behind six children between the ages of 9 and 27.

On Friday, Andy Welch’s bail set at $1 million and he could face up to 50 years in prison if convicted.

Welch is scheduled to have a readiness hearing on January 18 and a preliminary hearing on February 22.

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