Several family members Thursday pleaded for a Douglas County judge to be lenient with a prison sentence on a 22-year-old Topeka man who was convicted of robbing a Lawrence convenience store in 2009.
“We’re not interested in him not being accountable for his actions. I just ask that you please give him the chance, a reasonable chance, to rehabilitate and be a contributor to our society,” said Sedryck Welch’s stepfather Gregory Bailey, “because I’m committed to helping him do that.”
A jury in January convicted Welch of aggravated robbery after prosecutors accused him of using a shotgun to rob a clerk on Aug. 3, 2009, at Conoco, 2447 W. Sixth St.
Welch has already been sentenced to serve 59 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery in Shawnee County related to a 2009 robbery at a Topeka convenience store.
For the Douglas County conviction, under state sentencing guidelines Welch faces anywhere from 17 to 19 years in prison, but his attorney Sarah Swain is asking District Judge Michael Malone to give him a lesser prison sentence.
Swain had psychologist who evaluated Welch in jail testify Thursday that Welch had a low IQ, a learning disability and was prone to peer pressure to try to impress others, but he said his family support boded well for him not to re-offend.
During the January trial Douglas County prosecutors presented surveillance photos of a man with a gun that night, and the clerk and two other witnesses who knew Welch in 2009 testified and said they believed he was the man in the video.
“I just don’t understand it. I wish it’d just all go away,” Welch said in court Thursday. “I do have to get punished for something that happened, and I’m the type of person who takes responsibility for actions.”
His father, Rickey Welch, who served two years in prison from 1990 to 1992 for a Shawnee County robbery asked Malone for a shorter sentence for his son.
“Don’t throw him under the bus,” Rickey Welch said. “Just like the system gave me the opportunity and that chance to redo and get my life together, give him that chance too, so he can stand up and be a man.”
After the nearly three-hour hearing Thursday, Malone rescheduled closing arguments in the sentencing for 10 a.m. June 21.