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Inmate arraigned in alleged murder of cellmate in Warren County prison


The prison inmate who faces the death penalty if convicted of strangling a Piqua man in their cell in April was arraigned on Wednesday.

Jack D. Welninski, 33, delayed his arraignment, originally scheduled in October, because of questions about his appointed lawyers.

During the arraignment, he convinced court officials to wait until January for the first pretrial in his capital murder trial, scheduled for two weeks starting on Nov. 4, 2019.

On April 23, Welninski is accused of murdering cellmate Kevin Nill, 40, of Piqua, at the Lebanon Correctional Institution, west of Lebanon in Turtlecreek Twp.

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Authorities allege Welninski murdered Nill, in prison for attempted domestic violence, to get moved to another prison. Welninski is now held at the Ohio State Penitentiary, the state’s supermax prison in Youngstown.

Welninski was admitted to state prison on July 15, 2016, after being convicted of attempted murder, felonious assault, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm in liquor establishment, weapon under disability and failure to comply in Wood County.

In the Wood County case, Welninski is alleged to have attempted to murder one of the police officers called to a neighborhood after he pistol-whipped a man in an Oregon, Ohio, bar, and fled with his girlfriend and half brother, according to The Toledo Blade.

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During a gunfight, Welninski's girlfriend also fired at police before fatally shooting herself in the head, according to a July 14 article in the Toledo newspaper.

During his trial, Welninski interrupted his lawyer to tell the jury,” Find me guilty on everything,” according to the article.

He was sentenced to 69 years in prison.

On Wednesday, Judge Donald Oda II completed appointment of defense lawyers John Kaspar and Tamara Sack.

“Works for me, sir,” he said when asked if he was satisfied with his lawyers.

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Oda also read charges explaining Welninski faced the death penalty if found guilty of specifications included with an aggravated murder charge.

The specifications included him being found a “repeat violent offender,” “under detention” and to have previously attempted murder.

Otherwise, he faced from 20 years to life in prison to life in prison without parole, Oda said.

Oda ordered Welninski held without bond, while noting this “seems largely to be a moot point under the circumstances.’’