Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that the Honorable Robert H. Gardner, Judge of the Superior Court, sentenced Nicholas Welch, 29, of East Orange to life in New Jersey State Prison for the September 2010 murder of Jessica A. Moore, a 19-year-old Seton Hall sophomore from Disputante, Virginia.
In addition to the life sentence imposed for murdering Moore, an honor student who graduated from Upper Merion High School, in Pennsylvania, Welch was sentenced to 20 more years for the attempted murder of four other students.
“This defendant opened fire on unarmed, defenseless college students. There is no place in society for this type of behavior. We are satisfied that this sentence will keep this defendant off the streets for the rest of his life,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Jamel Semper, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Romesh Sukhdeo.
Following an 18-day trial in March of this year, an Essex County jury convicted Welch of murdering Moore and the attempted murder of Yvan Christophe, Nakeisha Vanterpool, Nicosia Henry and Daryl Elmore, all of whom were shot during the attack but survived.
On Sept. 25, 2010, Welch opened fire on a packed off-campus party after members of the fraternity sponsoring the party told him the house was filled to capacity. Welch came back with a gun, burst through the front door and began randomly shooting at the students. Welch, who lived on the same block, said that he ran the block and could not be kept out of any party.
Under the No Early Release Act, Welch must serve 89 years before he is eligible for parole. In New Jersey life is 75 years. A second defendant Marcus Bacus is awaiting trial. Welch has 28 arrests, including 10 as a juvenile, and one prior felony conviction as an adult.