Welle sentenced to 18 years for Proctor bar deathJudge Mark Munger today sentenced Paul Welle to 18 years in prison for causing the death of Dale Anderson last November outside the Powerhouse Bar in Proctor.
By: Steve Kuchera, Duluth News Tribune
Sitting within feet of the man who caused her father’s death, Renee Anderson told District Court Judge Mark Munger of the pain Paul Joseph Welle has caused her family.
“I miss my father more every day,” she told the court as it heard victim impact statements this afternoon. “I’m asking you to give Paul Welle the maximum sentence allowed by law.”
That is what Munger did, sentencing Welle to 18 years in prison for causing the death of Dale Anderson last November outside the Powerhouse Bar in Proctor. According to trial testimony, Anderson tried to protect a woman against Welle’s unwanted advances.
“You are a violent man. … You are a danger to public safety. …You have never been remorseful,” Munger told Welle, 33, of Elk River, before sentencing him.
Munger credited Welle for the 372 days he has been in jail. He will serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before being placed on supervised release.
St. Louis County prosecutor Rebekka Stumme said the state was pleased with the sentence.
“It means a lot to the (Anderson) family,” she said.
Defense attorney Richard Holmstrom declined to comment on the sentence, but said Welle’s conviction will be appealed.
In September, a jury found Welle guilty of both charges he faced: murder in the second degree and manslaughter in the first degree.
Welle punched and knocked Anderson to a concrete slab outside the bar on Nov. 6, 2011, causing the Duluth native to suffer a fatal brain injury.
Welle ran from the scene, then fabricated a story in which he claimed his wife witnessed Anderson attack him first and he simply defended himself.
However, Gabrielle Welle told jurors she was sleeping in a downtown Duluth hotel at the time her husband said she was at the bar.
A bar patron testified at trial that he heard an intoxicated young woman tell Anderson that Welle wanted her to go home with him and she didn’t want to. The 60-year-old Anderson said he would help her out by telling Welle that he was her dad. The bar patron heard the woman tell Anderson not to be mean to Welle and Anderson said not to worry because he wouldn’t be mean.
“Dale loved to help people. … Dale would go out of his way to help people,” Dale’s brother, Carl, told the court during his victim impact statement.
Calling the case the type that keeps judges up at night, Munger rejected a defense request for a shorter-than-guideline sentence, or at least one at the short end of the 153- to 216-month range called for in the presentence investigation on the murder charge. Because it is a lesser charge, the manslaughter count was vacated.
We’re here for a fair sentence, Holmstrom said. “We’re not asking for a slap on the wrist.”
Welle made a short statement before sentencing, turning to the Anderson family to say, “I am truly sorry for your loss. … It has hurt your family … It has hurt my family.”
Stumme argued against a shorter-than-guideline sentence.
“He’s responsible for killing someone,” she said. “He hurts people when they disagree with him.”
Munger agreed that Welle was the aggressor in the attack and a risk to public safety.
Renee Anderson said the sentence Munger imposed brought her a sense of peace and relief.
“It will never be enough, but I can say ‘Thank God,’ ” she said outside the courtroom.
“Unfortunately, it took my father losing his life, but Paul Welle is where he belongs. We’re all safer with one less dangerous person on the street.”