In October of 2012, Aaron Welch of Clearlake and Salvatore Bordessa of Windsor were arrested in connection with an August incident in which two black men had been assaulted with a knife. Authorities called the incident a “hate crime,” and said that it was gang-related. Now Welch, who is allegedly a white supremacist and vice president of the Lake County chapter of the Barbarian Brotherhood has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Welch was charged with terrorist threats, assault with a deadly weapon, dissuading a witness, two gang enhancements and a hate crime; he was originally booked into the Sonoma County Jail on a $1 million bond.
The attack took place on August 26, 2012 in a McDonald’s parking lot located at Yolanda and Santa Rosa Avenues at approximately 1:30 in the morning, according to a news article at Lake County News. Police responded to find that one of the two victims had been stabbed numerous times in the leg and shoulder. Prior to their arrest, Welsh and Bordessa were described as white males who were heavily tattooed. The two suspects and a woman were parked across the street from the McDonald’s parking lot, where they were allegedly calling out “white pride” and other racial slurs to the victims, who were 24 and 29 years old at the time of the incident.
The verbal attacks led to physical attacks of the two black men with a knife, one of them being transported to an area hospital. According to news reports, the suspects attempted to attack the victims with a knife, but were initially unsuccessful; they returned later and came through some bushes in order to sneak up on the victims. The two victims were brothers, one of them a Sonoma County correctional officer.
Welch initially faced a potential sentence of life in prison, but reached a plea deal with prosecutors; the case never went to trial. However, Welch’s sentence was doubled to 15 years due to a prior criminal conviction.
Santa Rosa assault with a deadly weapon attorneys understand the serous consequences individuals charged with a hate crime, terrorist threats, and assault with a deadly weapon face if convicted. Without an experienced and capable lawyer, it is likely the punishment will be extremely severe. It is the duty of your attorney to use his/her skill and knowledge to reach a positive outcome, whether that means dismissal or reduction of the charges.
If you have been arrested for or charged with a serious or violent crime, make it your first priority to consult with a talented Santa Rosa criminal defense lawyer. Your freedom and future literally hang in the balance.