Man, 89, claims he was defending self in Homestead shooting

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The 89-year-old man accused of killing a contractor in Homestead felt threatened by the victim and fired the fatal shot in self-defense, his attorney said Friday.

William Welsh of Homestead was held for trial Friday on one count of homicide in the July 26 shooting death of William Menni, 58, of McKees Rocks.

Homestead police went to the 300 block of Park Way about 12:40 p.m. July 26 on a report that a man had been shot. They found Mr. Menni with a gunshot wound to the head and medics took him to UPMC Mercy, where he died about an hour later.

At the scene, witnesses told Homestead police Chief Jeffrey DeSimone that Mr. Welsh shot Mr. Menni.

When Chief DeSimone asked Mr. Welsh where the gun was, Mr. Welsh responded, "I put it away in the house and I'll take you to it," according to a criminal complaint.

Police said Mr. Welsh led Chief DeSimone to a planter, where the chief found a semiautomatic handgun.

About the same time, Mr. Welsh's granddaughter came downstairs and asked what happened and Mr. Welsh said that he shot Mr. Menni, according to the complaint.

Frank Walker, the attorney representing Mr. Welsh, said Friday that self-defense "has always been an issue in this case from the very beginning."

Mr. Walker said that Mr. Menni had threatened his client and his client's family several times.

He said Mr. Welsh cared for a property near the Welsh Funeral Home on East 10th Avenue for the building's owner, who lives in California. Mr. Walker said his client recommended Mr. Menni to do some demolition work on the property near the funeral home.

Mr. Welsh and Mr. Menni agreed that Mr. Menni would receive his payments in installments, but Mr. Menni had grown unhappy with that arrangement and "over and over for a few weeks Mr. Menni was threatening them," Mr. Walker said.

On the day of the shooting, "my guy tried to leave on three occasions and Mr. Menni grabbed him, turned him around," Mr. Walker said.

Mr. Walker said he intends to ask a judge to release his client on bail.

breaking - neigh_south

Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.


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