Grand jury to consider new charges in Loudoun Co. mother-son murders

LEESBURG, Va. — Six weeks after Loudoun County prosecutors had to drop murder charges against a man accused of killing an Aldie mother and her grown son, a multi-jurisdictional grand jury is hearing new evidence.

Sources tell WTOP Brian Welsh, 38, of Herndon, Virginia, remains the sole suspect in the January shooting deaths of 65-year-old Mala Manwani and her 32-year-old son, Rishi.

In August, Loudoun prosecutors dropped the two counts of first-degree murder against Welsh after forensics showed bullets recovered from the victims’ bodies didn’t match the barrel of Welsh’s handgun.

Earlier, Virginia’s Department of Forensic Science had certified seven bullet casings that were found near the Manwanis’ bodies matched Welsh’s semi-automatic gun.

Now, a search warrant affidavit shows investigators with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office believe Welsh’s .22-caliber handgun was modified after he shot the Manwanis, in their Tomey Court home.

Detective Alonzo Perry wrote that shortly after the Manwanis were killed, Welsh, who lives in Herndon, arranged to meet his brother and gave him his gun. The brother, who lives in Loudoun County, took the weapon and eventually returned it to Welsh, who gave it to his mother.

The gun was recovered by the Loudoun County’s Sheriff’s Office at the mother’s home, in Orange County.

“Your affiant believes that due to the recent lab results and the fact that the defendant, his brother, and his father are all familiar with the operation and repair of firearms, it is believed the weapon was modified at one of the listed residence (sic) after the murder,” Perry wrote.

During searches of Welsh family houses in Loudoun, Fairfax and Orange counties, detectives recovered 17 types of bullets, four handguns, four rifles, one shotgun, firearm parts, and manuals, according to the warrant return.

The search warrant also provided more details about what the sheriff’s office had referred to as “illegal drug activity.”

Welsh told detectives during a search that he had been purchasing oxycodone from Rishi Manwani, had amassed a lot of debt, and was distributing drugs he bought from Rishi.

“His in-laws had paid off his credit card debt but he had found a way to use PayPal to get money for drugs,” according to the affidavit, which said Welsh said he took $18,000 from his 401(k) account to purchase drugs.

“He stated that he was hiding the amount of money he was spending on drugs from his wife,” according to Perry.

Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman; Welsh’s attorney, Thomas Walsh; and sheriff’s spokesman Kraig Troxell declined to comment.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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