Sex offender held in woman’s death

Mary Ellen Welsh was found dead Sunday.New Britain Police Department via AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A sex offender recently released from prison brazenly invaded a home, shot two women meeting for morning coffee and abducted one of them, whose body was found about 10 miles away, police said.

Leslie Williams, 31, told police that he entered the unlocked home Sunday morning looking for money and a car, but that when two women inside saw his face, he had no choice but to shoot them, according to an arrest warrant.

Carol Larese, 65, was seriously wounded while her visiting friend, MaryEllen Welsh, 62, was abducted.

Larese told police she pretended to be dead, then stayed in her basement for an hour to make sure the intruder had left. She went to a neighbor’s home across the street for help.

“She just told me she was shot,” Teresa Diters said. “She was all full of blood from head to toe. I was amazed.”

Suspect crashed car
Police said they arrested Williams when he crashed Welsh’s car about 25 miles away in Watertown after a police chase later on Sunday.

Welsh’s body was found in a wooded area of Bristol early Monday, Sgt. Darren Pearson said.

A photo released by the New Britain police dept. shows home invasion suspect Leslie Williams, arrested by police Sunday, March 30, 2008 in Watertown, Conn., after a New Britian home invasion Sunday morning that resulted in one woman being shot and wounded and another taken away at gunpoint and who is still missing. New Britian Police Dept.

Williams appeared in court Monday but did not enter a plea to charges of criminal attempt to commit murder, robbery, kidnapping with a firearm and other crimes related to the attack on Larese. A judge set bail at $5 million.

Prosecutors said they were preparing to file more serious charges connected with Welsh’s death but did not know when that might happen.

Williams’ attorney, public defender Todd Edgington, said he expected the new charges within the next day or two.

“This stuff is rolling in faster than I can keep up,” he said.

Edgington said he asked to have Williams placed in protective custody in prison because he is concerned other inmates might blame him if state officials crack down the way they did after two parolees were charged in a deadly July home invasion in Cheshire. The case led to a temporary ban on parole for all offenders.

Released March 4
Williams was living at two shelters in Hartford after he was released March 4 from the medium-security Osborne Correctional Institution in Somers after serving eight years in prison, authorities said.

Police in Waterbury, where Williams lived before he went to prison, said he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl he knew in 1998.

He was denied parole in March 2006.

Welsh, a nurse, was battling cancer in the past year, but her friends had helped take care of her, said neighbor Albert Carrier.

“She was a very, very good person, beautiful person to be neighbors with,” Carrier said. “She was like part of my family.”