A state appeals court has denied issues of potential double jeopardy concerning a retrial in a shooting death seven years ago in the south part of Hunt County.
This week’s decision by the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas may clear the way for the trial of Carl Allen Welch, currently scheduled later this month. A review hearing in the case is scheduled Friday in the 196th District Court.
Welch has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder involving the 2014 death of Terry R. Cale of Wills Point.
Getting to this point has been a long and complicated tale.
A jury had been selected and opening arguments and the start of testimony were planned in late August 2019. But the proceedings were halted and a mistrial in the case was announced by 196th District Court Judge Andrew Bench
According to court documents, during a pretrial hearing on August 16, 2019, prosecutors requested in a Motion in Limine that the defense not be allowed to present the jury panel on the self-defense issue commonly known as the “Castle Doctrine.” Bench denied the motion and allowed the defense to pursue the self-defense theory.
But during opening arguments, the defense counsel allegedly referred to Cale as a member or former member of a “biker gang” or “motorcycle club” without a previous hearing to determine whether the evidence would be admissible, which reportedly violated the Motion in Limine.
Bench issued a mistrial and reset the trial for December 17, 2019.
On November 7, 2019 Bench received a defense pretrial application for writ of habeas corpus in the case, seeking relief from double jeopardy. While Bench denied the motion, he did approve an appeal to the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas. Hearings during the appeal process were postponed earlier this year in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The appeals court issued its ruling Monday — a decision covering 29 pages — denying the petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Welch’s trial is currently scheduled to begin May 17, and was one of two murder cases scheduled for jury selection in the court that day. The capital murder trial of Brooke Ashley Craig was reset earlier this week until January.
Welch was indicted by a Hunt County grand jury in October 2017 in connection with Cale’s death.
The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers conducted the investigation into the homicide.
Cale, 54, was reported to have been shot multiple times outside of a residence on Archer Lane south of Quinlan late on the night of May 16, 2014. Then-Sheriff Randy Meeks said the shooting appeared to have been the result of a domestic disturbance earlier in the evening.
Welch was taken into custody following Cale’s death, was charged with one count of murder and was released on $75,000 bond.
Murder is a first degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from five to 99 years to life in prison.