EL CAJON (CNS) - A Lakeside man accused of shooting his wife in the back during a fight in their East County home pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge.
Bail was set at $1 million for Andrew Richard Welch, 45, who faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and an allegation that he personally used a firearm to kill Tonya Welch.
The couple had been married just over a year, according to neighbors.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Pirrello told Judge Charles Ervin that the defendant walked into the sheriff's station in Santee shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday and told deputies that he and his wife had fought the night before and that he had hurt her "really bad."
When deputies offered to send medical assistance to his home, the defendant said "no" and told deputies he had killed his wife, Pirrello told the judge.
Investigators went to the couple's home in the 11300 block of El Nopal and found the 43-year-old victim face down in a pool of blood with a single gunshot wound to the back, Pirrello said.
A gun believed to be used in the killing was found on a sofa, the prosecutor said.
A readiness conference was set for Jan. 18 and a preliminary hearing for Feb. 22.
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