Foothills murder suspect says nothing, so judge enters not-guilty plea for him

Adam M. Dees “stood silent” in court on Thursday, declining to enter a plea to charges that he killed Ted, Elaine and Tom Welp in their Boise home.

Fourth District Judge Sam Hoagland entered not guilty pleas on Dees’ behalf and set trial for Sept. 29. The trial is expected to last two months, Deputy Ada County Prosecutor Jean Fisher told Hoagland.

Dees, 22, is accused of shooting and bludgeoning the three Welps to death in March.

He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and burglary, in addition to forgery, use of a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed weapon.

Dees appeared in court in a yellow and white Ada County Jail suit, secured with a belly chain, handcuffs and leg restraints. Since his last court appearance in April, he shaved his head and removed a mustache and goatee.

He remains at the Ada County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

The killings took place on March 8 or 9, authorities have said.

A baseball bat and 9 mm handgun are believed to have been used to kill the Welps, according to an indictment issued last month. The bodies were found in the victims’ home at 9700 North Cartwright Road the morning of March 10.

Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts has not decided whether to seek the death penalty if Dees is convicted. Now that Thursday’s pleas have been recorded, Bennetts will have 60 days to decide what penalty to pursue. If the death penalty is not sought, Dees would face up to life in prison.

Sheriff Gary Raney previously described the crime scene as probably the bloodiest and most horrific he has seen in 31 years of law enforcement.

Dees was arrested the day after the bodies were found. He was initially charged with stealing and using the victims’ credit cards.

He was also accused of trying to sell Elaine Welp’s engagement ring. The ring was recovered from a local jeweler.

The arrest on credit card theft and forgery charges gave investigators time to look into the slayings and take the case before an Ada County grand jury.