FREDERICK, MD – This afternoon in Frederick County Circuit Court, the Honorable Judge Theresa Adams sentenced Corey Robert Welch, age 18, of Frederick, to a total of fifteen years in prison suspending all but four years in the Division of Corrections for 1st Degree Assault and Hate Crime charges. Welch must also serve five years supervised probation upon his release from prison. The defendant has been held in custody since the incident. This case was brought before the Frederick Grand Jury February 21, 2020 so that the then-17-year-old defendant could face charges in the adult system. The State was successful in keeping this case in adult court after Welch’s defense petitioned and argued to move the case to juvenile jurisdiction.
In the evening and early morning hours of February 15th and 16th, 2020, the victim and defendant were both attending a house party in the 6900 Block of Meadowlake Road in New Market. At some point in the evening, the defendant made comments toward the victim about what he perceived was the victim’s sexual orientation. Uncomfortable, the victim decided to leave the party and wait outside to be picked up by a ride-share driver. As the victim walked outside, the defendant tackled the victim from behind. Welch placed the victim in a headlock, and began strangling him while demanding his belongings. Martin Gieser, the co-defendant, assisted by standing on the victim’s legs and holding him down. The victim pleaded with Welch to take his belongings and stop the assault. The victim reported losing consciousness three times during the attack as a result of being strangled. Each time he would regain consciousness, Welch grew more and more irate, and began to beat the victim in the head. The attack continued despite Welch and co-defendant Gieser obtaining the victim’s property. After some time, the ride-share driver arrived on scene and observed Welch strangling and beating the victim. Welch approached the driver, and said they would be a few more minutes. Throughout the course of the attack, Welch repeatedly called the victim by anti-gay slurs.
On February 16, 2020 at approximately 12:37 am, deputies with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched for the report of the assault in progress. Deputies quickly located the victim and then positively identified both defendants as the perpetrators of the attack. Investigators determined the victim’s injuries were consistent with strangulation including red marks, swelling of the neck, and a raspy voice. Additionally, the victim sustained a concussion and leg injury.
The State believes that through evidence and witness accounts, Welch was motivated to attack this victim due to his perception of the victim’s sexual orientation. Assistant State’s Attorneys Laura Corbett Wilt and Will Prunka commented, “A Division of Correction sentence was appropriate for this crime. Targeting a person because of their perceived sexual orientation is completely unacceptable. The conviction and sentencing show our commitment to all members of the Frederick County community. Welch’s actions caused not only physical injury, but psychological trauma that is clearly evident to this day. The victim and his family are satisfied that justice has been served and that this marks a moment of closure in this terrible ordeal. ”
The State was represented by Juvenile Division Chief Laura Corbett Wilt and Assistant State’s Attorney Will Prunka.