Motion for reduced bond denied for man accused of Sonic robbery

By Blake Schnitker on October 10 at 12:33pm

A Peoria man accused of robbing the local Sonic drive-in appeared in Morgan County court today for a bond status hearing.

Thirty-eight year old Richard Welch, of Peoria, was arrested back on August 9th for alleged aggravated armed robbery that occurred at Jacksonville’s Sonic Drive-In on the night of August 8th.

Police reports from that night indicate that two male subjects armed with guns robbed the restaurant, taking an unknown amount of cash before fleeing in a red vehicle. Morgan County Deputies attempted to make a traffic stop on the suspect’s vehicle later that night. At this point, the vehicle reportedly attempted to elude officers before crashing near East Vandalia and Easy Drive, at which point the two suspects fled on foot.

Authorities initially apprehended one of the two suspects, 24-year old Tyrell Lobdell, while Welch got away. Welch was arrested days later after detectives with the Jacksonville Police Department interviewed a person of interest, leading authorities to Welch’s location.

Today, Welch filed a motion in Morgan County court to try and have his bond reduced or modified. Representing himself, Welch cited the sickness of a family member – and that family member’s ability to help Welch bond out of jail – as the reason for his request. However, Morgan County State’s Attorney Gray Noll argued for Welch’s bond to remain the same, citing the defendant’s extensive criminal history. Ultimately, Judge Chris Reif denied Welch’s motion for a reduced bond. Noll explains why he felt that was the appropriate decision.

“Mr. Welch, who is representing himself pro se, requested that his bond lowered from $150,000 to $100,000. The judge denied that motion and the court took into consideration his prior criminal history which consisted of a residential burglary from 1998 and more serious case of armed robbery from 2002 which the defendant was sentenced to the Department of Corrections for – both of those cases arise out of Peoria County. With the serious nature of this offense, and the defendant’s criminal history, the court felt it was appropriate to keep the bond as set,” says Noll.

Noll explains how Welch’s criminal record effects his sentencing in the current case.

“The defendant because of his actions at the Sonic here in town is charged with one count of aggravated robbery. Aggravated robbery normally is a Class 1 felony, however because of the defendant’s prior criminal history, it is mandatory that he is sentenced as a Class X offender, which means he’s facing six to thirty years in the Department of Corrections,” Noll says.

Judge Chris Reif set Welch’s next court date for December 6th at 9 a.m. As for the other suspect, Lobdell appeared in court last Wednesday for a pretrial conference. At the appearance, Lobdell’s Defense Attorney Tom Piper was granted a motion for continuance, with the case to be resumed also on December 6th at 9 a.m.