GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A man has been found guilty of felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the death of his 9-month-old daughter.
Seth Welch is now facing up to life in prison after the verdict, which came after four days of testimony and several hours of deliberation Monday.
During testimony, prosecutors said Welch waited almost two hours to call police after finding 9-month-old Mary Welch’s body on her torn and urine-soaked crib mattress. Prosecutors said he called his parents, texted someone about selling a goat, and Googled why a rapper was kidnapped before he dialed 911 for their dead baby.
Throughout the five-day trial, the jury has seen a picture of the child’s body and listened to police tapes where Welch told investigators her death was just a part of “natural selection” while saying he wasn’t losing any sleep over his daughter’s death.
During closing arguments, defense attorney Charles Clapp claimed his lack of emotion was due to shock.
“His father originally said, ‘I thought he was in shock because of his deadpan attitude,’” Clapp said. “And then he said, ‘I also thought he only called me on speed dial because he was overwhelmed and it was all he could do. His mother said he was in shock and he was in denial.”
Assistant Prosecutor Kim Richardson said Welch was waiting for his daughter to die.
“He knew she was going to die, and he was waiting for it. That’s why they call their attorney first. That’s why they wait two hours,” Richardson said.
Investigators say the girl died of malnutrition and dehydration as she was only 8 pounds at the time of her death. Dr. Sarah J. Brown, a child abuse pediatrician at Bronson Children’s Hospital testified to the evidence that Welch starved his baby to death.
Tatiana Welch is expected to head to trial next week.