Father found guilty of June assault on daughter

Man with knife pursued teen-ager through home of ex-wife and family

January 24, 2001|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A 43-year-old Columbia man who pulled a knife on his teen-age daughter, sparking a tense confrontation with police, was convicted on Monday - nearly a decade after he was convicted of holding his wife hostage in a bank.

Howard County Circuit Judge James B. Dudley found Kenneth Robert Welk Jr. guilty of three counts of second-degree assault, one count of reckless endangerment and one count of resisting arrest in the June incident.

Welk was acquitted on two additional counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of carrying a weapon openly with intent to injure and one count of false imprisonment.

Sentencing will take place Feb. 28.

In the early 1990s, Welk, of the 10100 block of Owen Brown Road, spent 14 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and gun charges related to a May 1991 incident during which he held his estranged wife, Michele, and two of her co-workers at gunpoint inside Washington Federal Bank in Ellicott City. The couple divorced in 1992.

In the more recent incident, Welk pulled a knife after his 15-year-old daughter, Rigel, confronted him in the kitchen of an Ellicott City house she shared with her mother, younger brother and grandmother, according to court testimony.

Rigel said she was staying up late June 29, waiting for a phone call, when she heard the sound of a doorknob turning. When she went to investigate in the kitchen, she saw her father, hunched over and standing in the shadows.

She started to yell, and Welk, who had "an awful look" on his face, took out a hunting knife, which he held throughout the incident, she testified. Her mother heard the yelling, and Rigel grabbed the telephone to call 911.

With her father telling her to hang up the telephone, Rigel made her way through the house in the 9800 block of Gwynn Park Drive.

In the living room, Rigel threw several items at her father, including a microscope and video cassettes.

"I figured that if I could distract him enough ... I could run past him," she testified.

They ended up by the back bedrooms of the house. In her bedroom, she threw several more items at her father.

When police arrived, they broke down the front door, and Rigel and her mother hid in their rooms, Rigel with a BB gun shoved under the door to keep it closed, according to testimony.

Officers shouted at Welk, but he would not put the knife down, and they resorted to nonlethal force, firing rubber bullets and bean bags at him, according to court testimony.

While officers were pulling Michele Welk and her 9-year-old son, Michael, through a bedroom window, Kenneth Welk forced his way into Rigel's room and shut the door, the girl testified.

Tactical officers broke the bedroom door down and handcuffed Kenneth Welk after a struggle, according to testimony.

Sun staff writer Mark Ribbing contributed to this article.

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