Man Sentenced To Death For 1993 Triple Slaying

Published: Oct. 20, 2006 at 6:46 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2006 at 1:29 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(BOWLING GREEN, Ky.) -- A south central Kentucky man convicted of killing three people at a farmhouse in 1993 was sentenced to death on Friday.

William Harry Meece was convicted last month in the deaths of veterinarian Joseph Wellnitz, 50, his wife, Beth, 40, and their son, Dennis, 20, in Adair County.

Meece becomes the 37th inmate on Kentucky's Death Row.

Circuit Judge James G. Weddle agreed to a jury's recommendation and gave Meece three death sentences Friday morning, said Chris Cohron, commonwealth's attorney for Warren County, where the trial was moved. Adair County Commonwealth's Attorney Brian Wright prosecuted the case, Cohron said.

Cohron said Meece made a statement to the court Friday morning but did not express remorse for the killings.

Prosecutors said Meece and the Wellnitz's surviving daughter, Meg Wellnitz Appleton, contrived the murder plot to collect a $550,000 inheritance after the slayings.

Appleton pleaded guilty in January 2005 to three counts of complicity to murder and testified against Meece.

Meece initially pleaded guilty to the slayings, but withdrew the plea in May 2005.

Weddle also sentenced Meece to 20 years for a burglary conviction and another 20 years for robbery, Cohron said.

The case lingered for a decade without suspects before police received a tip that Meece and Appleton had talked about being involved in the killings.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)