On the same day as family and friends paid their final respects to a former law enforcement officer gunned down July 7, his alleged killer made his first appearance in District Court Monday morning in Jacksonville.
Will James Welch Jr., 18 of Runnymeade Drive in Jacksonville has been charged with murder and is accused of shooting to death and inflicting blunt force trauma to William Joseph Clifton, 48, of Richlands. Clifton’s body was discovered in the Woodlands Park in Jacksonville at 6:30 a.m. on July 7.
Welch-who lived with his parents–resided less than two miles from the alleged crime scene. An address listed for Clifton on his death certificate listed a Chappell Creek residence in Richlands Township some 14 miles away from the alleged crime scene.
In a two-minute hearing before District Court Judge Henry L. Stevens lV, Welsh-dressed in an Onslow County Jail orange jumpsuit–answered the court’s questions as to his competency and legal representation. Stevens asked Welch if he had an attorney to which the defendant responded: “I’m going to talk to my mom. She was