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Meg Wellnitz Appleton enters guilty pleas

  • Sentencing scheduled for January 25, 2005
  • Prosecutor Brian Wright makes recommendations
Margaret Ann "Meg" Wellnitz Appleton pleaded guilty to three counts in Adair Circuit Court today, Tuesday, January 4, 2005, in connection to the February, 26, 1993, murders of her mother, Elizabeth "Beth" Wellnitz: her step-father, veterinarian Dr. Joseph Wellnitz: and her brother, Dennis.

Adair Circuit Judge James Weddle, Liberty, is presiding in the case.

The crimes occurred at the Wellnitz home and clinic on Conover Lane. The location is just past the first Russell Creek Bridge and south off Russell Road/East Highway 80.

According to Adair County Circuit Court Clerk Dennis Loy, the three counts Beth Wellnitz-Appleton pleaded guilty to are as follows:
  • Complicity to murder, 3 counts
  • Complicity to burglary
  • Complicity to robbery
William Harry Meece, an accomplice, had earlier entered a guilty plea, but last week was attempting to withdraw that plea.

Adair County Circuit Court Clerk Dennis Loy reported, after this morning's court action, the following recommendations will go to Probation and Parole for background investigation and then be presented to the judge by Prosecutor Brian Wright on January 25, 2005 regarding Margaret Ann "Meg" Wellnitz Appleton:
  • 1st Recommendation: 20 years on complicity to burglary, 1st degree; 20 years on complicity to robbery, 1st degree to be served concurrently for a total of 40 years. Commonwealth opposes probation
  • 2nd Recommendation: Imprisonment for life without the benefit of probation or parole until the defendant has served a minimum of 25 years of her sentence on each count of complicity to murder on each of 3 counts (her mother, step-father and brother), to be served concurrently and by law to be served concurrently with the 40 year sentence for a total sentence of life without the benefit of probation or parole until she has served a minimum of 25 years of her sentence.
  • 3rd Recommendation: This agreement is conditional on the defendant providing a complete and truthful recorded statement regarding the events surrounding the crime set forth in this indictment; further conditional on the defendant cooperating fully with the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the criminal action styled Commonwealth of Kentucky vs- Wm. Harry Meece, Adair Circuit Court Indictment # 03-CR-00019. This cooperation to include defendants truthful testimony if needed during any trial which may be held in the future.
  • 4th Recommendation: If for any reason the defendant fails to abide by the terms set fourth in Number 3 above, said failure shall be grounds to set aside the Commonwealth's offer on a plea of guilt and this matter shall proceed to a jury.
The case had been under investigation by the Columbia Post of the Kentucky State Police for 10 years and the scheduled sentencing is almost 12 years after the crimes.

On February 27, 1993, Columbia veterinarian Joseph Wellnitz, his wife Beth, and son Dennis were discovered dead in their home from brutal, gang-type shootings.

There were no signs of struggle. Each body had "numerous" wounds from nine millimeter bullets.

A decade-long investigation by the Columbia Post of the Kentucky State Police would ensue before the case began to crack. When it did, Meg Wellnitz--Beth Wellnitz' daughter, Dr. Joseph Wellnitz' step-daughter, Dennis Wellnitz'sister-- was accused of conspiring with a man named William Harry Meece to break in and kill and rob her own family.
For numerous other stories on this case:
  1. Go to the Search Box upper right hand corner and type in the word "Appleton" or "Meece"
  2. Go the the Google Search box, in the lower right column and search on "Wellnitz Murder"
The searches should on Google may be tried both with quotation marks and without, and will likely result in different returns.

This story was posted on 2005-01-04 21:18:05
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