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Lodi man accused of murder appears in court

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Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 4:02 pm

A Lodi man accused of murdering his friend and co-worker in May appeared in a San Joaquin County courtroom Tuesday, but his arraignment was postponed.

Richard Welker, 33, will be arraigned Sept. 5, while the California Department of Justice waits to analyze the gun police suspect Welker used to kill Arlie Druen, 33, of Lodi. His lawyer contends the gun misfired.

On May 14, Lodi police responded to the 700 block of South Central Avenue after reports of a shooting. At the scene, they found that Druen had suffered several gunshot wounds. He was later pronounced dead at Lodi Memorial Hospital.

Welker, Druen’s roommate, was soon arrested and booked into San Joaquin County Jail.

During initial investigations, police tried to determine whether the shooting was accidental or premeditated. Welker is being held on suspicion of premeditated murder, intentional and personal discharge of a firearm, and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

However, Welker’s attorney, Victoria Bossi, maintains that the gun is old and accidentally discharged, killing Druen.

“There’s been some evidence to support the defense’s position,” she said in a phone interview Tuesday. “(Welker) had no intention to kill someone who’s been a very close friend to him.”

Bossi said backlog at the California Department of Justice has delayed tests scheduled to be conducted on the weapon. But when results are returned, they’ll help prove Welker’s innocence, Bossi said.

“Sometimes cases are unique, and we don’t want to rush through them,” she said. “In my mind this was a tragic accident, and the testing will find there is evidence to support that the gun misfired.”

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