DETROIT – A Harper Woods man accused of murdering his girlfriend, mother and stepfather last year while out on bond is now facing a fourth murder charge.
Jonathan Welch has been in and out of court over the past year as prosecutors build a case against him. Here’s a look at the staggering timeline of events.
Welch was out on bond after being charged with attacking his girlfriend and mother of his son, Zlayiah Frazier on June 2, 2022, court records show.
Prosecutors said Welch strangled Frazier with an extension cord, poured gasoline on her, tortured her with a red-hot spatula, and then sexually assaulted her.
Previous: Harper Woods man stabbed mom with butcher’s knife, beat girlfriend, stepdad to death, officials say
Welch was charged with seven crimes, including torture, assault, and criminal sexual assault.
Instead of being locked up without bond, he was issued a $100,000 bond, or 10%, by Magistrate Dawn White, according to records. Welch was able to pay $10,000 to get out of jail, authorities said.
Prosecutors say, while on a tether, Welsh broke into his mother’s Harper Woods home and killed Frazier, his mother and his stepfather.
“This is the court’s worst nightmare, the worst possible scenario that could happen,” said Judge Kenneth King, of 36th District Court during an emergency bond hearing last July. “The witness has been killed after the defendant was placed on bond, given the benefit of being placed on bond with house arrest.”
Read: Harper Woods 7-hour standoff: 2 dead, mom stabbed, child found in driveway, shots fired at police
Now, prosecutors are charging Welsh with a fourth murder. On June 4, 2022, the body of Natayla Morse was found beaten to death.
Family members of all the victims point to that low bond.
Local 4′s crime and safety expert Darnell Blackburn says police are increasingly frustrated by low bonds, putting safety at risk.
“You know, it’s very frustrating when you have somebody who’s vicious or accused of doing something very, very vicious to someone and you have enough information to get a warrant issued,” Blackburn said. “The warrant gets issued. The prosecutor signs it and it goes to the judge, and ultimately the judge gives this person a low bond. That’s very frustrating and disheartening as a law enforcement officer to see something like that happened.”
Welch was brought to court again for the fourth homicide charge and is being held without bond.
Also: Man accused of killing girlfriend in Harper Woods was released on bail days earlier after beating her