By Russell Page
The man accused of killing Lehi police officer Joseph Adams pleaded guilty to aggravated murder Monday in Fourth District Court.
Arturo Javier Scott Welch, 24, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for killing Adams Aug. 3, 2001.
“We definitely feel that justice was done today,” said Josh Adams, brother of Joseph Adams and an Orem City police officer.
Judge Ray M. Harding read the sentence in a courtroom overflowing with sobs and tears. Lehi City Police Chief Chad Smith was given the opportunity to address Welch and the court, and Judge Harding offered to take a short recess before Smith spoke because he started to cry.
“We lost an honorable man,” Smith said. “We lost an individual that the young rookies looked up to.”
Thad Adams, father of Joseph Adams, was also given the opportunity to address Welch and the court.
“We feel sorrowful for your family, and we feel sorrowful for you,” Adams told Welch on behalf of the Adams family. “We are mutually committed in our feeling that this is an appropriate resolution to the circumstances that originated on August 3.”
Adams stopped Welch on August 3, 2001 for not having proper vehicle insurance. Adams proceeded to arrest Welch after finding signs of cocaine, but Welch pulled a gun and shot Adams in the heart, fatally wounding him.
Thad Adams said that he personally believes that the death penalty is an appropriate penalty, but not in Welch”s case. He also told Welch that he doesn”t wake up with in the morning with a heart full of hate.
Adams also told Welch that he has thought about Welch”s family a lot. “I deeply emphasize with their concerns for you,” he said.
Welch was also given the opportunity to address the court and the Adams family. He said he had thought a lot about what he was going to say.
“I can”t ask your forgiveness. I have no right,” Welch told the family. “All I can say is I”m deeply sorry for the pain I have caused you.”
Welch said he did not want to take the case to trial because of the pain he had already caused the Adams family. But Josh Adams said Welch”s apology didn”t really mean anything to him.
Utah County Deputy Attorney John Allan said he allowed the Adams family to decide what penalty would be pursued in court.
“They are the ones that made the decision,” Allan said.
“We”re not out for vengeance,” Josh Adams said. “That is not ours to take.”