Welch sentenced to life in prison
A judge this morning sentenced Justin Welch, 28, who was hired to kill Kimberly Smith of Oconomowoc, to life in prison, though he will be eligible for parole at age 70.
Welch killed Smith on Oct. 1, 2009. He was hired by Darren Wold, Smith's former boyfriend and the father of her child, to kill Smith. Wold's longtime friend Jack Johnson acted as a middle man. Wold and Johnson were found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide by a jury last week.
Welch entered a plea deal with prosecutors earlier this year. In exchange for providing authorities information and testifying against Wold and Johnson, prosecutors agreed to recommend Welch be eligible for parole at age 60.
But Judge James R. Kieffer said that because of the brutal nature of the murder he sentenced Welch to a longer term in prison. A parole board will ultimately decide whether Welch will be released.
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