Eganville man defends self in murder trial stemming from Arnprior high-speed chase

OTTAWA – The Eganville man accused of first degree murder in connection with the death of an Arnprior woman in a fiery crash more than two years ago has taken the stand in his own defence.

Zachary Wittke testified yesterday (Jan. 21) he only intended to kill himself, and not Sheila Welsh, who was killed after a stolen pick-up truck driven by Wittke smashed into her car at high speed on Daniel Street in Arnprior in September, 2017.

Wittke’s testimony today included details of his difficulties adjusting to life on the outside following a period of incarceration in 2016. He spent 18 months in jail for an incident in 2016 when he stole a vehicle and later stabbed himself in the chest when police cornered him in the bathroom of an Ottawa store. 

Just over a month after his release from jail for those offences Wittke says he chose to end it all and after leading police on a high speed chase, drove in to Arnprior where he would soon be involved in the horrific crash that took Welsh’s life.

The accused told the court during the chase, his glasses flew off his face, affecting his vision. He claims he was aiming for a concrete construction barrier, and not Welsh’s car. Defence lawyer Paulo Giancaterino asked the 13-member jury to convict on manslaughter, rather than the first degree charges, claiming Wittke only meant to harm himself.

  • Courtesy Oldies 107.7 FM