Easthampton slaying trial of Ryan Welch pushed back one week
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A portrait of Jessica Pripstein is seen at a vigil at First Churches in Northampton last year.
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NORTHAMPTON — Two days after setting a trial date for the murder trial of Ryan Welch, Hampshire Superior Court Judge Bertha Josephson pushed the date back a week to June 17 to allow Welch more time to review evidence in the case.
Welch, 37, is charged with murder in the Feb. 20, 2012 death of his girlfriend, Jessica Ann Pripstein, 39.
Josephson on Tuesday set a tentative date of June 10 to begin jury selection and said she would not entertain a motion to postpone the case made by Welch’s attorney, Paul Rudof of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, because he did not have affidavits to support his claim that his client did not have sufficient time to review evidence.
Rudof presented affidavits Wednesday afternoon that he said showed that Welch had limited access to a computer at the Hampshire Jail and House of Correction and so has not been able to review the 40 to 50 computer disks of evidence.
At the hearing, Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jeremy Bucci said that the Hampshire Sheriff’s Department told him that Welch had made about 50 requests to use the computer and had always been allowed to do so. He added there were “disciplinary issues as to how he was using the computer” early in his stay at the jail that may have affected his access then.
Bucci said the prosecution was ready to try the case on June 10, but Josephson moved it to June 17 at 9 a.m. The trial is expected to last about three weeks.
Welch was arrested after police responding to Pripstein’s 911 call Feb. 20, 2012 said they found her body lying in a pool of blood in her Ward Avenue apartment. Welch was also in the apartment, bleeding from a neck wound police said was self-inflicted.
He told police he had found Pripstein’s body in her apartment and was so distraught the he attempted to kill himself by slitting his throat.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.