A Detroit man has been accused of committing a rash of horrific crimes last summer after he had been arrested on other violent charges. A subsequent investigation then tied him to a murdered body discovered just days earlier.
Early last June, Zlayiah Frazier told police that her ex-boyfriend, Jonathan Welch, had brutally attacked her. Frazier claimed that Welch had burned her arms and legs, strangled her repeatedly, threatened her with a drill, and attempted to sexually assault her with an instrument. On June 12, Welch was charged with torture, using a harmful device to cause personal injury, first-degree home invasion, third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and assault with intent to commit penetration. Despite those heinous charges, Welch was soon released after paying 10% of his $100,000 bond.
Within weeks, Welch had allegedly murdered Frazier. He then barricaded himself inside the Harper Woods home belonging to his mother, Flossie Nicole Bray, and her husband, Robert Bray Jr. While inside the Brays' home, Welch reportedly murdered his stepfather and then stabbed his mother before she ran to a neighbor's house for help.
"I said, ‘Who stabbed you?'" neighbor Ruth Tabone recalled. "She said, 'My son, he's stabbing everyone in the house.'"
Meanwhile, Welch remained inside the Bray home. He reportedly fired at SWAT team members who had come to arrest him, poured gasoline inside the residence, and then lit it on fire. After a lengthy standoff, he exited the home and surrendered to the authorities. His mother eventually died from her injuries.
"They should have never let him out of jail," said Breonna, the sister of Welch's ex-girlfriend.
Breonna is not the only one to make that argument. Less than two weeks before the murder of Breonna's sister and the Brays, the dead body of 24-year-old Natayla Morse was discovered on Detroit's east side. Morse had died of "blunt force trauma" to her head.
Unfortunately, Welch was named the suspect in Morse's murder only after the deaths of Welch's ex-girlfriend, mother, and stepfather. Wayne County prosecutors believe that in the weeks before those three murders, Welch murdered Morse, stole her car, and then set it on fire. Welch was arraigned in connection to Morse's murder on Thursday.
Morse's sister, Aaliyah, claimed that she had never seen Welch before and did not believe her sister knew him. "Honestly, it kind of doesn’t really make any sense how [Morse and Welch] have any connection whatsoever," Aaliyah said.
"Did he deserve a bond? No. Especially that low," Aaliyah said about Welch's release from custody after the attack against Frazier, his ex-girlfriend. "It’s absurd. I’m honestly speechless."
Frazier's sister, Breonna, had even stronger words for the suspect. "You need to go to hell," Breonna said. "Burn in hell."
Welch is scheduled to appear in court in connection to the other three murders on Friday.
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