Change of Venue Requested in Murder Case

Donald McCullough
Donald McCullough

Change of Venue Requested in Murder Case
By: CJ Cassidy

STODDARD COUNTY, Mo. - Family members of a teenager facing murder charges in Stoddard County could get their wish after calling for a change of venue.

A decision has not been made yet on moving the trial of a Stoddard County teen accused of murder.

Owen Welty, 14, appeared in court Wednesday morning.  During that appearance, the court granted his attorney's motion for a change of judge.

Once that new judge is appointed he or she will decide if Welty's trial should be moved out of Stoddard County.

Welty's accused of shooting and killing 64-year-old Donald McCullough back in November.
His attorneys filed a motion for a change of venue and a judge granted that request.
The judge issued a gag order on this case, but with permission from Welty's attorney, one family member decided to speak out for the very first time.
"I think we need to get the case out of Stoddard County.  He needs to be taken out of the Stoddard County Jail," Carolyn Welty said.
For now though, Owen Welty returns with other inmates to the same jail where he's spent the past 10 months.
The teen appears to have slimmed down since his first court appearance.  He waved to his family after leaving the Justice Center where a judge agreed to move his trial out of Stoddard County.
"We're hoping that helps him; do some justice.  He has not got any justice.  The family of victim has not got any justice either; there's no closure for their loved one," Carolyn said.
Don McCullough's family chose not to talk on camera, but did say they would be at Welty's trial no matter where it's held.
Police found McCullough's body on his ranch.  He'd been shot to death with a high powered rifle.
Court documents show Welty admitted to being in that same area and firing his weapon around the same time.
Court papers also show Welty admitted it's possible he shot the victim, and that he heard the victim yell after the shot.
However, autopsy results show the bullet cut through McCullogh's vocal chords, making it impossible for him to cry out.
"What we've come together to realize is, he heard someone.  It may not have been the victim, could be another hunter, could have been anything.  It might have been the one that shot him, who knows," Carolyn said.
It's all part of the puzzle that's now up to a jury to solve.
"I feel sympathy for them.  How would you feel?  They were neighbors they liked him.  They had no problems with him.  There was no reason whatsoever to shoot him," she said.
Welty's aunt also says Owen's the most sheltered child she knows and that his parents raised him in church.
Don McCullough's family meanwhile showed up wearing buttons with their loved one's picture on them.