Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk reported as of Tuesday nine out of 10 defendants in a 2010 double slaying in Camden have had their cases adjudicated with guilty pleas or guilty veredicts.
Dennis Welch, M/22, of the 500 block of Berkley Street in Camden, pleaded guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter Tuesday as a jury was being selected for his Murder trial. As part of the plea agreement, Welch is expected to be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years by Superior Court Judge Michael Kassel at a hearing on March 15. During his plea Tuesday, Welch admitted to beating Michael Hawkins, M/23, of Mount Holly, at a home on the 500 block of Berkley Street in Camden on February 22, 2010.
Hawkins was beaten, gagged and bound, and placed in a bedroom closet. After additional gang members arrived at the Berkley Street home, he was shot, stabbed and beaten again.
Welch was not accused of killing Muriah Huff, F/18, of Cinnaminson, who was with Hawkins at the Berkley Street home. She was murdered after Hawkins’ killers worried about her being a witness to Hawkins’ death.
Police found the bodies of Hawkins and Huff buried in the back yard of the Berkley Street home on February 25, 2010.
Of the 10 people charged in 2010 with the killings of Huff and Hawkins, nine have either plead guilty or been found guilty of offenses related to one or both of the killings. One defendant, Peter Leonce, is pending trial. Leonce is facing numerous criminal counts, including two counts of Murder for the deaths of Hawkins and Huff. A trial is tentatively scheduled to begin March 4.