Murder trial of Ryan Welch, accused in slaying of Jessica Ann Pripstein, delayed to October
Ryan D. Welch, shown during his arraignment in September, has asked for a new lawyer. He faces a single charge of murder in connection to the slaying of Jessica Ann Pripstein. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Purchase photo reprints »
NORTHAMPTON — The slaying trial of Ryan Welch, which had been scheduled to begin this month, has been pushed to sometime in October.
Welch, 37, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in the 2012 death of his girlfriend, Jessica Ann Pripstein, 39.
Welch’s attorney, Paul Rudof, successfully argued Thursday for the continuance in Hampshire Superior Court before Judge Bertha Josephson.
Rudof had presented motions to continue the case in May, arguing that Welch did not have sufficient time to review the evidence in his case because he has only limited access to a computer at the Hampshire Jail and House of Correction where he is being held.
By telephone Thursday, Rudof said more time is needed to prepare for the case in part because there is a lack of “ability to effectively communicate” with his client due to what he termed as his mental illness.
Rudof said Welch has anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jeremy Bucci, who is prosecuting Welch, said the delay will not affect how the case will be tried. “We were ready to try the case this month and we’ll be ready to try it in October,” he said.
Welch was arrested after police responding to Pripstein’s 911 call Feb. 20, 2012, said they found her lying in a pool of blood in her Ward Avenue apartment. Welch was also in the apartment, bleeding from a neck wound that police said was self-inflicted. He told police he had found Pripstein’s body in the apartment and was so distraught he attempted to kill himself by slitting his throat.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.