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Witness traces steps after alleged murder

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Columbia County Chief Assistant District Attorney Jim Carlucci and Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty lead the prosecution’s case in the trial of Carl “Pepe” Williams, who is accused of killing his cousin, Cory Velazquez.
April 16, 2018 11:21 pm Updated: April 17, 2018 12:47 pm

HUDSON — A man testified Monday that he traded T-shirts with a Hudson man accused of stabbing Cory Velazquez.

Cory Welch, 22, of Hudson, testified he was with Williams after he allegedly stabbed his cousin Oct. 11, 2015. The two ran from the apartment at 10 Frederick St. after the fight and made their way through the streets of Hudson.

“He [Williams] looked in shock and was running real fast,” Welch said in court Monday. “He [Williams] had blood on his shirt.”

Welch recalled he asked Williams what was going on, and Williams replied, “It’s no big deal.”

Then, the two men walked on, Welch said.

Columbia County Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty asked Welch to walk the jurors through the events of. Carty showed jurors a map of the route the two men walked, and Welch pointed out several key stops they made after the alleged stabbing.

Welch testified he heard Velazquez and Williams arguing before he left the apartment that night.

Welch said he heard Velazquez say to Williams, “When I get my money, you guys can leave.”

Williams allegedly sold heroin to Velazquez’s customer in his apartment without his knowledge. Velazquez allegedly wanted Williams to give him back the $70 to $80 from the drug sale.

Welch testified Williams told Velazquez: “It’s not a lot of money. I’ll give it back to you.”

Welch said he did not see the altercation between Williams and Velazquez, who is also known as “Skrilla.”

While walking that night, Williams and Welch shared a Corona beer from a bag. The pair walked from Union Street to Fourth Street and then onto Warren Street.

Welch said Williams told him, “You’re more of a cousin than Skrilla is.”

Welch and Williams are not related.

Wunderbar Bistro at 744 Warren St., where Williams had been earlier that night, was closed. Outside, Williams, whose shirt was bloody, asked to switch shirts with Welch.

Welch agreed, and police seized the shirt as evidence.

Claudette Clarke, the owner of West Indies Natural Food Store at 222 Warren St., testified Monday that Williams bought antiseptic from her store the night of the alleged stabbing.

Clarke said she heard Williams tell her, “I’ll beat him. I’ll beat him. I’ll beat him,” before he left the store.

Welch and Williams went their separate ways soon after leaving.

Welch testified he later received a phone call from a friend telling him Velazquez was dead. Welch and Williams were the last people to see Velazquez alive, Welch’s friend said.

Afraid of being implicated, Welch decided to leave Hudson. Welch went to his grandmother’s house in Ghent for the night, he said.

The next morning, Welch he received a phone call from his brother, he said, because the police were looking for him.

Welch went to the Hudson Police Department and retraced his steps with police through the city, beginning at Eighth Street. Police found the knife they believe to be the murder weapon in a storm drain on Eighth Street.

Welch said he did not see Williams with a knife when he left Velazquez’s apartment. He also testified he did not see Williams throw away a knife.

Under cross-examination, defense attorney Dennis Schlenker attempted to call Welch’s motives for testifying into question.

Welch is facing charges including criminal possession of marijuana, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, Schlenker said, adding Welch has a prior assault charge.

Welch pleaded guilty to the charges, but has not yet been sentenced.

“I would like for one of the charges to be dropped,” Schlenker said, quoting from Welch’s grand jury testimony.

Welch said he did not recall making the statement, but believed he made it.

“Do you think by helping to get this man get convicted, this will help you with your crimes,” Schlenker said to Welch.

“No, I do not,” Welch replied.

Welch said the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office did not make him any promises in exchange for his testimony.

On Oct. 11, 2015, Williams, 23, of Hudson, allegedly stabbed Velazquez in the neck after an argument over drug money. Williams is accused of second-degree murder, a class A-1 felony.

Williams’ trial began April 9 in Columbia County Court and is expected to continue through the rest of this week.

*Editor's note: This story corrects an earlier version. Clarke said she heard Williams tell her, “I’ll beat him. I’ll beat him. I’ll beat him,” before he left the store, not Velazquez.​​​

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymal.net, or tweet to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.