Not guilty plea from parolee accused of beating girlfriend, flee - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Not guilty plea from parolee accused of beating girlfriend, fleeing with 5-month-old child

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VISTA (CNS) - A parolee accused of severely beating his girlfriend near their Pauma Valley home and fleeing with their baby, who later turned up safe, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

Kenneth Wayne Welch, 42, was booked into jail on suspici

VISTA (CNS) - A parolee accused of severely beating his girlfriend near their Pauma Valley home and fleeing with their baby, who was unharmed, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, evading police, child abuse and making criminal threats.

Kenneth Wayne Welch, 42, was ordered held on $1 million bail.

Welch may have as many as three prior "strikes" for robbery, intimidating a witness and assault with a deadly weapon -- dating back quite a few years, according to prosecutors. He faces at least 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the current charges, said Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe.

Deputies investigating a reported domestic dispute shortly after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday found the defendant's girlfriend in a neighborhood off the 22000 block of State Route 76.

She old investigators that Welch had attacked her during an argument as they sat with their son inside a parked vehicle in the area, not far from their home on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, sheriff's Lt. James Bolwerk said.

The badly hurt woman managed to escape and run off, after which Welch drove away with the child, Bolwerk said. Medics took the victim to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries to her head and face.

Watanabe told Judge Marshall Hockett today that Welch attacked his girlfriend while she was driving and he was a passenger.

Welch pulled the woman's hair and hit her with a weighted tool used by law enforcement, the prosecutor alleged. He said the woman got out of the car, and Welch allegedly tried to run her down while saying he was going to kill her.

Police tracked Welch through his cell phone, and he led officers through residential neighborhoods in Vista at speeds up to 60 mph before crashing the car and being taken into custody around 10 a.m., Watanabe said.

The prosecutor said Welch had dropped the baby off at his sister's home in Oceanside. The baby was unhurt.

on of attempted murder, assault, child endangerment, domestic violence, evading police and violating conditions of his parole. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, which was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Deputies investigating a reported domestic dispute shortly after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday found the defendant's girlfriend in a neighborhood off the 22000 block of State Route 76, sheriff's officials said.

The victim told investigators that Welch had attacked her during an argument as they sat with their son inside a parked vehicle in the area, not far from their home on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, Lt. James Bolwerk said.

The badly hurt woman managed to escape and run off, after which Welch drove away with the child. Bolwerk said. Medics took the victim to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries to her head and face.

Authorities, meanwhile, issued a statewide child-abduction alert while trying to locate Welch, who was believed to be armed with a knife, to pose a threat to the baby and possibly suicidal, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Several hours later, a relative of Welch's who lives in Oceanside called police to report the suspect had dropped off the infant and left, the lieutenant said. The child, who was unharmed, was taken into protective custody.

Shortly before 10 a.m., deputies spotted Welch driving through western Vista. Following a brief road and foot chase, they arrested him in the 1100 block of Marine View Drive, just east of South Melrose Drive, Bolwerk said.

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