March 22, 2019 - Split Jury Results in Double Life Sentence For Anthony WELCH

Late yesterday evening (Mar 21) a Brevard County Jury did not unanimously agree to uphold the death penalty for Anthony WELCH (40), previously convicted in the premeditated murders of elderly couple Rufus and Kyoko Johnson on December 14th, 2000. As a result two (2) consecutive life sentences were imposed on WELCH by Judge Robin Lemonidis.

WELCH was originally sentenced to death for the murders in March of 2006, but the sentence was later overturned on appeal. While not directly affected by the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hurst v. Florida, the revised death penalty procedure requiring a unanimous jury recommendation, was implemented prior to the penalty phase hearing that began March 4, 2019.

On the day of the murders, WELCH had gone to the home of the 69 year old retired Air Force Master Sergeant and his 66 year old wife looking for money. The couple was celebrating Kyoko's birthday. WELCH attempted to extort cash by threatening the couple. When they refused, he bludgeoned and stabbed them both to death. WELCH was identified when an extortion note he gave the couple was found in Kyoko's pocket with his fingerprint on it.  WELCH later confessed to the murders and pled guilty in 2006.

Upon learning of the verdict, State Attorney Phil Archer, who authorized the retrial of WELCH's penalty phase said "The brutal, callous, and unjustifiable killing of two innocent people made seeking to uphold the death penalty appropriate in this case." He went on to say "While I respect the decision of the jury, I'm deeply saddened that this process continues to traumatize survivors and families decades after a lawful conviction. The verdict may be just, but the system is far from justified."

WELCH will be returned to the Florida Department of Corrections to serve out the remainder of his three consecutive life sentences.

Todd Brown
Public Information & 
(321) 617-7510 

Office of the State Attorney
18th Judicial Circuit
2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way 
Building D 
Viera, FL    32940


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