Sheila Welsh was going to pick up her grandchildren at school when she was killed in a random attack by a troubled young man determined to kill and behind the wheel of a stolen and fast van.
Zach Wittke woke up that day, on September 25, 2017, with the intention of killing, and sent a text message to a friend about the bloody rage in his mind.
“Thinking of killing people and myself every day is a real surprise for me and I have to act before I go crazy,” Wittke wrote to a friend that day.
Wittke said she was suicidal and wanted to kill others along the way that damned day. He sent her a text message about killing a family in Arnprior, and on her way she ended up crashing head-on against Welsh’s compact car while she was stopped at an intersection. Welsh, 65, died instantly when his little Chevy Aveo burst into flames.
This is the detailed police narrative in an efficient opening speech on Wednesday by Crown Attorney Robin Flumerfelt on the first day of the trial for first-degree murder of Zachary Wittke at the Elgin Street court.
“The evidence in this case will be direct. But it will show that the defendant intentionally struck his stolen Ford F-150 against a defenseless person in a small car, which was planned and deliberate, and is guilty of first-degree murder, ”Flumerfelt told the jury.
Wittke, 22, who pleaded not guilty, and sat in the prisoner’s box with his head down as witnesses recounted his mad driving on that fateful day.
It was not the first time Wittke had stolen a Ford F-150 truck. On January 12, 2016, Wittke stole the same model truck and posted a live Facebook video with the steering wheel and his wild and furious voice in the background.
In the disturbing video, he spoke without a filter and recorded himself while accelerating, warning that if the police chased him, he would kill anyone in his path. The jury heard that he actually challenged the police to persecute him.
“Listen to me now, my mother. If you persecute me, I will make sure that someone, son of a bitch, dies in a police chase. You understand me? I am homicidal and suicidal. I challenge you to f – king chase me and watch how many people die f – king. You may think you are king sh-t with your bulletproof vest and your mother-king Crown Vic, your mother-king b-tch.
“If you persecute me, someone will kill me today.”
“I am putting this on Facebook because I want everyone to know that if you see a police chase and see a gray Ford F-150 truck, remove the fk from the road because I will crash into your f-As a vehicle. I don’t care about your family. No I don’t care about killing you … I hope you understand me because someone will die today, “Wittke is heard saying in the haunting Facebook video.
Wittke was sentenced to 18 months in jail for that 2016 case, and one month after jail, he stole another Ford F-150 truck and prepared to kill someone, the prosecutor told the jury on Wednesday.
The trial will return to his mental state the moment he crashed head-on against Welsh’s compact car on Daniel Street in Arnprior.
The defense team, led by Paolo Giancaterino, is expected to present evidence next week.
The trial resumes on Thursday.
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