WASHINGTON — Prosecutors in Loudoun County have dropped murder charges against a man who had been accused of killing a mother and son in their Aldie, Virginia, home earlier this year.
Brian Welsh, 38, of Herndon, Virginia, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the January shooting deaths of 65-year-old Mala Manwani and her 32-year-old son Rishi Manwani.
Forensic testing from Virginia Department of Forensic Science showed bullets recovered from the victims didn’t match Welsh’s gun, the prosecutor’s office acknowledged Thursday.
Virginia’s forensic lab previously certified that seven bullet casings that police said were found near the Manwani’s bodies matched a semi-automatic pistol that had been linked to Welsh.
The new review, however, dealt with forensic testing of nine bullets recovered directly from the victim’s bodies — and they didn’t match Welsh’s gun.
In a statement, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for Loudoun County said it decided to drop the charges against Welsh for now based on the findings of the forensic analysis.
“This new information requires further substantial investigation in a number of different areas,” a statement from the prosecutor’s office read. “The Sheriff’s Office has reacted swiftly and has already begun investigative efforts. A specific time frame cannot be provided as to when the additional investigation will be completed.”
Welsh’s attorney, Thomas Walsh, said new search warrants have been served served on other members of Welsh’s family.
Walsh had previously argued in court that DNA evidence would also exonerate his client, saying DNA recovered from a wallet belonging to Rishi Manwani wasn’t a match for Welsh.
Police discovered the bodies of the Manwanis inside their Tomey Court house in Aldie on Jan. 31. Both were found shot to death.
Investigators have released few details about a potential motive for the killings. When Welsh was arrested and charged with the killings in March, authorities said Welsh targeted Rishi Manwani over drug activity.