Welland avoided trial by entering a plea to two counts of armed robbery, two counts of home invasion, aggravated assault, four counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer; aggravated cruelty to animal; and two counts of theft by taking. Prior to handing down his sentence, Chief Superior Court Judge Clayton Tomlinson heard a powerful victim impact statement from the brother and sister of the victim of the home invasion and aggravated assault. With a picture displayed of their brother in a hospital bed almost three years after Welland’s crimes, they told the Court that their brother would never be the same. “He is serving a worse sentence than the defendant ever will. He will be able to get up and move around. Our brother will not.” Chief Judge Tomlinson sentenced Welland to life followed by ten years for the crimes he committed in Georgia.
District Attorney Studstilll went on to state that “There was considerable pressure to have Mr. Welland extradited to Florida to have Florida officials prosecute him for the alleged homicides in Tampa. However, we felt that it was important that the Georgia victims of this man’s rampage be given some justice even though it has forever changed their lives, and they can never be made whole. The devastation that this man caused in our community will never be forgotten. He shot a Lanier County Deputy on her first day on the job. He shot a Lanier County man in the head leaving him with lifelong physical injuries and lifelong emotional and psychological injuries. That man and his family will never be the same.”
I would like to thank the law enforcement officers involved in apprehending this individual and investigating this case. Several different agencies were involved including the Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Corrections, Lanier County Sheriff’s Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Their bravery, professionalism and hard work in this case is something that the citizens of our community should be proud of. Without their heroism, there is no telling what further devastation this man would have visited upon our community. I would also like to thank the employees from my office that worked on this case. Administrative Assistants Flor Pinedaand Alyson Bridges, our Victim Advocate Cindy Odum, and Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Smith worked tirelessly to prepare this case for trial.”
Welland is currently being extradited to Florida for prosecution for the crimes he allegedly committed there.