Loudoun County prosecutors seek bond for double-murder suspect

Loudoun County, Virginia, prosecutors have made the extraordinary request of requesting bond for a defendant charged with the 2018 armed murders of an Aldie woman and her adult son — in a case where prosecutors previously were forced to drop charges against the man.

Brian Kuang-Ming Welsh, 38, was indicted last October on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of use of a gun in the commission of a felony in the deaths of Mala Manwani, 65, and Rishi Manwani, 32.

WTOP has learned prosecutors have filed a motion in circuit court asking the judge to grant a motion by defense attorney Thomas Walsh that Welsh be released with GPS monitoring until trial.

Prosecutors, likely anticipating a judge’s questioning why they would seek pre-trial release for a man charged with violent crimes, acknowledged they had been backed into a legal corner.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy McMullen and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Barry Zweig had recently been appointed to the case, and additional delays would have violated Welsh’s right to a speedy trial.

Prosecutors would have to put Welsh on trial by March 2 — too soon for the new prosecution team — or charges would have to be dropped. And while, in that event, Welsh could be re-indicted, prosecutors estimate bringing the case before a grand jury could take up to a month, during which he would be completely free.

”As unusual as it is to release a defendant charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony,” McMullen and Zweig argued, closely monitoring Welsh’s behavior until his October trial with GPS “greatly outweighed” the risk of “even one month” of unsupervised release.

Walsh has argued his client isn’t planning to go anywhere, and pointed out that he didn’t even when he had the chance.

Welsh was initially arrested in March 2018, after the Manwanis were found dead with multiple gunshot wounds on Jan. 3, 2018, in their house in the 25000 block of Tomey Court.

However, on Aug. 23, 2018, prosecutors dropped the charges after forensic testing showed bullets recovered from the victims’ bodies didn’t match the barrel of Welsh’s handgun. Investigators believed Welsh’s family members modified his handgun after the Manwanis were killed.

During the 14 months between Welsh’s release on the initial charges until he was re-indicted, Walsh said his client didn’t flee.

”During this time, Mr. Welsh had a valid passport and was free to travel outside the United States to another country; however, he stayed in Northern Virginia with his wife and three children,” Walsh wrote.

In his motion for bond, Walsh and co-counsel Mark Petrovich suggested Welsh live with his parents in Orange County, Virginia; have an 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew, and relinquish his passport.

Circuit Court Judge James Fisher heard from both sides on Feb. 28, and took the matter under advisement. It’s not clear when he will issue a ruling.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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