Ryan Welch Indicted for Murder; Arraignment on Friday
NORTHAMPTON — A Hampshire County Grand Jury has returned an indictment on one charge of murder against Ryan D. Welch in connection with the Feb. 20 death of Jessica Ann Pripstein.
The case now moves to Hampshire Superior Court, where an arraignment is expected on Friday. Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan said his office will file a statement of the case that morning.
Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Bucci is the lead prosecutor. Welch has been represented by Paul Rudof of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.
Welch, 36, had been living at a sober housing facility at 75 Oliver St. that’s owned by the City of Easthampton and run by the South Middlesex Non-Profit Housing Corporation.
Welch is currently held without the right to bail at the Hampshire County House of Correction.
Welch was previously arraigned for murder at Baystate Medical Center, where he was transported for self-inflicted wounds the morning of the alleged murder. He was arrested February 21 at the hospital.
Easthampton Police discovered Pripstein’s body at her 27 Ward Ave. apartment in Easthampton shortly after midnight on Monday, Feb. 20, following a 911 call placed by Pripstein in which she said her boyfriend was trying to kill her. Eight minutes after placing the call, she was pronounced dead by emergency responders.
Pripstein was found on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood with a knife placed on her back, and Welch was on the floor in the bedroom, bleeding but alive, with another knife in his back pocket, according to police reports.
Investigators say said Welch’s wounds were self-inflicted, and that Pripstein died from a “sharp force injury to the neck.”
Pripstein was a licensed cosmetologist, and worked at Liora Gabrielle European Skin Care in Northampton and at Adamo’s Pizzeria in Easthampton.
In executing five search warrants, police took three “edged weapons” into evidence. They also found various prescription anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications written in Welch’s name, as well as an empty bottle of Suboxone, used to treat opiate addiction. In Pripstein’s apartment, they found six bottles of wine, flowers, and a Valentine’s day card, and a prescription bottle of the anti-anxiety medicine Lorazepam.
The two had been arguing at Amy’s Place, an Easthampton restaurant, in the hours before her death, say investigators. A week earlier, on Valentine’s Day, Welch had been arrested on a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol after crashing into a phone pole near his home. On that day, police say he told them he had been in an argument with his girlfriend.