CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – One of the youngest Missourians ever tried for murder as an adult was found not guilty by a St. Louis County jury Thursday. Owen Welty, 15, was accused of shooting his neighbor Don McCollough, 64, in 2006, when Welty was 13.
The shooting occurred on McCollough’s farm in rural Stoddard County, 170 miles south of St. Louis, but the trial was moved to St. Louis County.
Prosecutors said the shooting arose from a disagreement over the death on one of McCollough’s bulls. There were no witnesses and little evidence from the scene – ballistic tests from the bullet fragment found inside McCollough were inconclusive. But prosecutors said people saw Welty with a hunting rifle near the McCollough farm near the time of the shooting.
Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum told the jury, “This case is weak innuendo. It’s weak, weak speculation. We don’t speculate people into the penitentiary.”