JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – "Tell them I love them so much. And what I did is my mistake," Marial Wel said. Those are the words Wel had for his kids coming out of a Clark County courtroom Tuesday afternoon.
Wel is charged with murdering Josephine Amon in her Jeffersonville apartment early Sunday morning. The Louisville man allegedly shot and killed the mother of his children in front of their 13-year-old daughter.
Inside the courtroom, there was heartbreak. Family members including young children were inside with tears streaming down their faces, holding on to one another for support as Marial Wel was brought in.
Wel himself broke down in tears, his head in his hands while his family looked on.
"Yeah, I think this crime is unspeakably tragic, and the fact that the 13-year-old daughter did see her own mother executed there in that apartment," Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said.
Police have said it's unclear if Amon and Wel were legally married. Court records say Amon and Wel had separated.
They were fighting in Amon's Jeffersonville apartment early Sunday morning when she told him to "just leave". He then shot her and killed her.
Much of the family came for Wel's initial hearing Tuesday, holding hands as they say a prayer before going inside. Mull says that support is needed.
"A lot of family members of the surviving child were present in the courtroom today to offer support and to offer support to prosecution in the case," Mull said.
Wel was arrested under the name Mawien Mawien after turning himself in to Jefferson County Hall of Justice in Louisville.
Wel told the judge he's changed his name before. He's also used the name Mawien Mawirn, Mull said.
Court records show Mawien Mawien was arrested in 2007 for trying to strangle his wife.
Wel told the judge he is a citizen of Sudan, not the U.S.. Mull says the consulate will need to be notified, but it won't change how he'll pursue the case or how he'll be held accountable.
"If you commit a crime here, whatever your status is, I'm going to prosecute that and seek an appropriate sentence. Subsequent to that, whatever deportation procedures that are relevant will come into play then," Mull said.
The judge agreed to set no bond for Wel in the case after hearing from Mull, arguing that he may be a flight risk and stressing the severity of the charges against him. A trial date is scheduled for June.
If convicted, he could face up to 85 years in prison.