A Little Rock teenager who helped steal two assault rifles from a North Little Rock home has accepted a four-year prison sentence, two weeks after a Pulaski County circuit judge denied his request to be charged as a juvenile.
Brian Christopher Welch, 16, pleaded guilty to residential burglary and theft on Wednesday in exchange for the four-year term imposed by Judge Barry Sims, and that will be followed by a one-year suspended sentence. Welch turns 17 in about 2½ weeks.
Prosecutors opted to charge Welch as an adult in the case. Welch was arrested in November after he led North Little Rock police on a foot chase. Police saw him carrying two AR-15 rifles out of a just-burglarized home on West 35th Street. He fled but, police said, he left one gun behind during the pursuit. The second weapon was never found. Police said he had at least one accomplice, and possibly two.
Sims denied Welch's request to have the charges transferred to juvenile court after hearing testimony that Welch had been in the juvenile justice system since he was about 13 and had already spent almost a year in juvenile jail for aggravated robbery.
In July, Welch was released on probation for the robbery. But authorities were looking into taking him back into custody, saying he was violating his probation by skipping school, when he was arrested for the burglary.
Court records show that the robbery charge stems from Welch's arrest with two other teenagers from North Little Rock -- Davin Allen, now 19, and Keith Lamont Harris Jr, now 18 -- over accusations they robbed two men on Geyer Springs Road in southwest Little Rock in July 2016. Allen and Harris pleaded guilty to theft and were sentenced to five years of probation, while Welch, who was 14, confessed to participating in the holdup and was prosecuted in juvenile court.
Harris is currently behind bars, charged with capital murder and aggravated robbery. He is accused of orchestrating the March 15 armed robbery of a North Little Rock gas station where an airman, Shawn McKeough Jr. of Maine, was shot to death after he tackled one of the robbers. Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence.
Also charged with Harris are his brother, Keith Keshawn "K3" Harris, 17, of Little Rock; Drequan Lamont Robinson, 17, of North Little Rock; and Darrius Bernard Stewart, 17, of Little Rock.
Allen is currently a fugitive, Little Rock police say. Authorities said Allen and another man, 20-year-old Martez Nelson, are being sought as suspects in the May 16 shooting and robbery of Natheniel Williams at the Fair Oaks Apartments on West 36th Street.
Police have already arrested two other suspects, 17-year-old Avron "Chuck" Terrall Ward Britton of College Station and DaQuarius L'Quan Henderson, 19, of Little Rock.
NW News on 06/11/2019
Print Headline: Sentenced as adult, teen gets four years for burglary