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Saturday, June 9, 2007

[NJ] Deadly break-up of Correction Officers Derry & Welsh


EXCERPTS FROM VARIOUS NEWS SOURCES TODAY:
Local police are calling it a murder-suicide after the bodies of two Bayside State Prison corrections officers were found... Patrick Welsh entered the couple's home at about 3:30 p.m., and shot and killed 37-year-old Coretta Derry before turning the shotgun on himself... There was some type of breakup and the female had moved out of the residence... They later came to a decision to try and get back together... Derry had filed a report accusing Welsh of domestic harassment back in late May... She declined to sign a domestic violence restraining order... An officer spoke with the suspect via telephone and he stated that they had just broke up and he would vacate the home that night"... The boy was not home at the time of the shootings, but was getting off a school bus while police were at the scene... The tragedy is the fourth homicide involving corrections officers from Cumberland County in less than four years...

2 dead in apparent murder-suicide
Saturday, June 9, 2007

VINELAND -- Two corrections officers from Bayside State Prison are dead in what Vineland police are calling a murder-suicide.

Patrick J. Welsh, 29, allegedly shot and killed his live-in girlfriend Friday afternoon following arguments about the couple's future together. Welsh apparently turned the shotgun on himself after killing 37-year-old Corretta L. Derry.

"There was some type of breakup and the female had moved out of the residence," Lt. Tom Ulrich said. "They later came to a decision to try and get back together." Ulrich indicated the couple may have reunited for the sake of Derry's 11-year-old son.

The boy was not home at the time of the shootings, but was getting off a school bus while police were at the scene, Ulrich said. He is staying with family, police said.

Ulrich said police reports show Derry went to Vineland police headquarters May 30 to report a domestic harassment from three days earlier. She declined to sign a domestic violence restraining order against Welsh, and police called the man at the couple's Hance Bridge Road home to discuss the matter.

"An officer spoke with the suspect via telephone and he stated that they had just broke up and he would vacate the home that night," Ulrich said. There had been no further police contact with either Derry or Welsh.

The couple had been living together for four years, according to her statement to police on Friday afternoon. A friend of Welsh's called police expressing concern, Ulrich said. "The suspect had been talking to friends over the breakup," he said. "At 2 o'clock he was last seen with a person who later called police."

Officers went to the couples' home shortly after 4 p.m. and found Derry and Welsh dead. Ulrich declined to say how many shots were fired or describe the nature of the wounds.

This is the third homicide incident in Vineland in 2007. In April, 3-month-old Kimberley Lopez-Matias was beaten to death; police say her mother's boyfriend murdered the child. In March, Debra Smaniotto and Bruce Bertoldi were shot to death by Smaniotto's ex-boyfriend, Edgar Carrasquillo, who then killed himself at the Pheasant Run condominium complex.

The tragedy is the fourth homicide involving corrections officers from Cumberland County in less than four years. Jonathan Norman is serving a 50-year prison sentence for killing his ex-girlfriend, Teneka Milbourne, at her Fairfield home in August 2003. Both were senior corrections officers at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton. Four months later, Vineland resident Clarence Clough fatally shot himself after mortally wounding his wife in a murder-suicide. He was a corrections officer at Southern State Prison in Maurice River.

In May 2004, Alfred Ritzler of Millville, a corrections officer at Southern State, killed himself and his ex-girlfriend after a hostage standoff in Cape May County. 


Corrections officers die in apparent murder-suicide
Published: Saturday, June 9, 2007

VINELAND — Local police are calling it a murder-suicide after the bodies of two Bayside State Prison corrections officers were found in their home on the 1600 block of Hance Bridge Road on Friday afternoon with gunshot wounds.

Police said 29-year-old Patrick Welsh entered the couple's home at about 3:30 p.m., and shot and killed 37-year-old Coretta Derry before turning the shotgun on himself.

The investigation into the deaths is ongoing, though police pointed to a recent domestic disturbance Derry reported on May 31.

According to police, Derry called to report that Welsh had been harassing her with several phone calls the day after the couple's recent breakup.

"Apparently, their relationship was going to end," Lt. Thomas Ulrich said. "There were some arguments over how this was going to transpire."

Derry declined to press charges at the time.

Police said Derry had been speaking on the telephone with a friend when the line went dead. The friend she had been speaking with went to the house to check on Derry and called the police afterward.

Ulrich confirmed Derry had an 11-year-old child who lived with the couple but was not home at the time of the shooting.

According to neighbors, Derry was the mother of a second young child. 


Two dead in murder-suicide
June 09, 2007 2:21PM

VINELAND -- Patrick J. Welsh, the suspect in the murder-suicide case currently being investigated by Vineland Police Department and the Cumberland County Prosecutors Office, was seen by an acquaintance just hours before he and his ex-girlfriend, Coretta L. Derry, were found dead in their home, according to police.

The acquaintance saw Welsh at 2 p.m. and noted he was upset over the pending break up between himself and Derry.

Police also announced that Derry was on the telephone with a friend when the line suddenly disconnected between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. When the friend went to check on the house, no one answered the door or the telephone, even though Derry¹s car was in the driveway. It was at this point that the friend called the police.

Further investigation by police also found that Derry had filed a report accusing Welsh of domestic harassment back in late May. She then told police that they were in the process of breaking up, and that Welsh was upset and calling her about removing personal belongings from their house.

Derry at the time declined to get a temporary restraining order, or make an official complaint against Welsh.

According to Cumberland County Prosecutor Ron Casella, an autopsy was conducted on both bodies today, as well as a search of Welsh¹s car.

Police discovered the bodies of Welsh and Derry shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday inside their shared home on Hance Bridge Road dead from shotgun wounds. Derry was found lying in a stairwell leading to the second level of the home, while Welsh was found on the floor of the master bedroom.

Authorities believe that Welsh first shot Derry, then shot himself. Though they were not married, they had lived together in the house and were in the process of ending a four-year relationship.

Both Welsh and Derry had worked at Bayside State Prison as corrections officers since January 1999, according to a spokeswoman from the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Derry¹s 11-year-old son, who lived with the couple, was on his way home from school and was not present during the shooting. The child is currently staying with his maternal grandmother.
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