A woman convicted of murdering her boyfriend seven years ago in what was described as a “fatal attraction” killing was found guilty Monday for a second time. Claire Welsh, 40, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the Jan. 12, 1997, death of Jack Mileski, who was shot in the back of the head as he slept. Mileski, 38, died in the North Nevada Avenue apartment he shared with Welsh. Welsh hung her head as Judge Gilbert Martinez read the verdict, and she gazed dispassionately toward jurors as they were polled. She put her hand on her chest, her fingers spread wide, after jurors filed out of the 4th Judicial District courtroom. She told Martinez that she was “stunned” by the verdict before being sentenced again to life in prison.
Welsh had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Welsh said she’s proud that she and her lawyers presented the truth about what happened that night more than seven years ago even though the jury didn’t believe it. She said she loves and misses Mileski. “If I could change everything about that time, I would,” she said, “but I can’t.” “I won’t ask for forgive- ness,” Welsh said later. “I just hope people remember I’m human and something terrible has happened and I’m very, very sorry.” Dan Durland, a friend of Mileski, said he and others who knew the high school English teacher and well-known rock climber were satisfied with the verdict. “It’s just what we wanted,” he said. “In my opinion, prison is where she needs to be.” Prosecutor Dave Young said he was relieved by the verdict and happy for Mileski’s family. “There’s no question this was first- degree murder,” he said. The jury deliberated for about eight hours before rejecting Welsh’s insanity plea. Welsh last week told jurors she was confused and suicidal in the weeks before she shot Mileski. She said she bought a handgun the day before his death in case she decided to kill herself over their impending breakup. Welsh remembered wrapping the revolver in a towel and taking it to bed but did not remember shooting Mileski or herself, she told jurors. Mental health experts called by the defense said Welsh might have taken a gun to bed to kill herself, lost touch with reality and shot Mileski. Mental illness and severe depression could have caused Welsh to “dissociate” moments before she pulled the trigger, they said. Prosecutors portrayed it as a “fatal attraction” relationship in which Welsh showed up unannounced on Mileski’s doorstep and moved in even though Mileski had broken up with her. He wanted her to move out, but she refused to go away, prosecutors said.
They said Welsh knew what she was doing when she shot him and documented her murder-suicide plans in hundreds of pages of notes police found when they searched her car. Welsh was convicted of firstdegree murder and sentenced in 1998 to life in prison for killing Mileski, but the Colorado Supreme Court threw out the conviction, giving her a new trial. The high court ruled in December that prosecutors improperly used her refusal to answer certain questions about the crime as proof of her guilt.