Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jacob Welcome Wells:
On Evil Incarnate


Hadn't been a great day. Day before yesterday, I was in Wayne County Circuit Court--just to get an adjournment (i.e., reset a date) for a particular hearing. Shooda taken two minutes. Instead I had to wait two hours, during which I got to see... THIS guy.

His name (which I post reluctantly) is Jacob Welcome Wells, age 35. He was up for sentencing before Judge Ulysses Boykin, having been convicted by jury of First Degree Premeditated Murder, First Degree Felony Murder, and eight other charges, two of which called for Life Without Parole (mandatory). Apparently, in January 2012, this individual -- while on probation on home invasion charges -- walked up to a group of four women outside a Detroit club called Blackberry's and shot each of them, one in the face, killing her instantly.  Her name was Claudia Benson, she was only 21 years old, and her only "crime" in her life appeared to be nothing more than choosing the wrong nightclub on a Saturday evening.

Before they brought the man in, the courtroom filled with family -- both of the victim and of the killer -- as well as no less than fourteen court officers to keep order.  (It turns out that the two families had been feuding like the Montagues and Capulets since the murder, except in this case Romeo was played by Ted Bundy.)

To make the scene even more horrible, the guy chose to have a thug meltdown during sentencing -- not toward the judge, but toward the family of his victim, throwing N-bombs and F-bombs at them until the judge ejected him. Apparently the killer did not want to hear the victims' impact statement.... and as it turned out he didn't.
I hope they piped it into the lockup though so he could hear every word anyway.
After he was removed, the victim's mother, Alchea Benson, gave a short and dignified statement on behalf of the family, rejoicing that the killer would never see the streets again, and thanking all those who helped to apprehend and convict him. And: "I only regret that this is Michigan and not Texas" (obviously implying she wished he received the death penalty, which Michigan does not have). I can't blame her for that.
Anyway, Judge Boykin sentenced him to two Life sentences without parole, six separate sentences of 10-60 years, and a Felony Firearm Second offense, 7.5 years, 4x habitual offender; 7.5 years to be served before any credit toward any of the other three crimes. Being in this man's presence was... almost physically revolting: a personification of pure evil. Every negative stereotype about young black men you've ever encountered was made manifest in this one individual, who truly is, or was, everything horrible you could think of him. He was a fourth offender, already having been convicted twice of felony firearm possession. His eyes -- as you can see in the pictures above -- are dead and empty. And his criminal record speaks for itself:

What makes a man like him? I cannot say poverty or racism: after all, the city is filled with people who labor under those constraints and the enormous majority never see the inside of a criminal court. This is a man who made a career out of being a thug. He chose to become what he became. He wasn't the victim of circumstances beyond his control, but the end result of what he had made of  himself. And he turned himself into something so revolting, and so dangerous, that he must forever spend what remains of his life locked in a cell.  And the harmless woman he murdered lies cold in her grave--because she had a few dollars in her purse. Anathema sit.  And let him be forgotten.

I certainly wish I could forget him.

(I must note the presence of a small, white haired, very senior attorney, John McWilliams, who was his trial counsel. Prior to sentencing being pronounced, he noted to the judge that the defendant had a right of 'allocution' (addressing the court). The Court dryly noted that the Defendant had already demonstrated what his discourse would consist of and stated that he had forfeited it. I approached him afterwards and asked him: retained or appointed? "Appointed," he responded. "I remember when I was sworn in as an attorney. 'Welcome, footsoldiers of the Constitution.'" He shook his head.... and I shook his hand.  Attorney McWilliams, I salute you. What a thankless job!)

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your description of this cold blooded killer. I had the opportunity to look this animal in the face and feel the violence and hatred of his glare back at me. Was it a The devil himself that named him such an inappropriate name? "Welcome" ..........not in my world!


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