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Julia and Chris Welton charged with negligent child abuse in death of son Levi, pot use targeted

Categories: Colorado Crimes

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Big photos, video below.
Was marijuana a contributing factor in the death of two-year-old Levi Welton earlier this year?

Expect this to be among the arguments made against his parents, Julia and Chris Welton. More than two months after Levi died following a fire in the family's Sterling home, his mother and father have been accused of negligent child abuse resulting in death, among other charges -- and pot smoking appears to be central to the case against them. See photos, video and details below.

Facebook pages for Julia, reportedly a medical marijuana card holder, and Chris remain online at this writing, and photos co-starring Levi are featured prominently on each. Here's a shot with him and his dad....

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...and here's another in which he's seen having fun with both Chris and Julia:

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Such joy was replaced by mourning on January 15. At about 7:29 p.m. on that date, according to the South Platte Sentinel, Sterling firefighters responded to the Welton home, located at 125 State Street.

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The Weltons' home in Sterling, as seen in a 7News screen capture.
Shortly thereafter, personnel found Levi in a closet, not far from where the fire broke out. He was rushed to a local hospital, but didn't respond to treatment.

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A Facebook self-portrait of Chris Welton.
Chris was hurt in the incident, suffering burns on his hands, presumably while trying to rescue Levi and his five-year-old brother, Dean. But despite these efforts, he and Julia were soon targeted with accusations of neglect reported by 7News.

In a report on view below, the station referred to paperwork suggesting that both Levi and Dean had tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, during the weeks and months prior to the fire, which is said to have started in a pile of clothing and blankets underneath the window in the bedroom where Levi was found.

Continue for more about the charges against Julia and Chris Welton, including additional photos and a video.



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54 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

*** Pot Mom sentenced to 10 years in Prison for Deaths of her 2 sons ***


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.—A Colorado woman has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the deaths of her two young sons who overheated when they were left alone in an SUV with the motor running and the heater on.

Heather Jensen was sentenced Friday in Mesa County District Court.

She was convicted Jan. 31 on two counts of fatal child abuse. She was acquitted on two counts of criminally negligent homicide.


Authorities said Jensen's 2- and 4-year-old boys died of hyperthermia in late November 2012. 


Prosecutors said she was having sex and smoking marijuana in another vehicle nearby.



Chris Baird
Chris Baird

This is for sure a fabricated story, just like the guy in Florida that ate the other guys face. His drug test came back positive fir marijuana but showed no trace of bath salts and guess why because there is no test for bath salts. People that are against marijuana use have been grasping at straws trying to show it in a negative light and they will latch onto any opportunity to discredit marijuana. Don't believe the buckshot people. Use YOUR OWN MIND, and make intelligent decisions on what you believe.

thebig
thebig

I personally know these people. And I can tell you it was NEGLECT

Kristen Leigh
Kristen Leigh

He died in a fire. Has nothing to do with pot. If they payed attention to the kids he would be alive

Matthew Munn
Matthew Munn

The brother that survived also tested positive.

Matthew Munn
Matthew Munn

Just heard on the radio: Kids toxicology report shows THC in his system. Even if you're on the pro-weed side, that is not good. Parents now charged with child abuse resulting in death.

Matt Corry
Matt Corry

No! At what point do we stop blaming other factors, other people, and take some personal responsibility for our actions? What happened to that child is horrible, and caused from the MANY poor decisions made by the parents. The people did this, not a plant!

Clayton Capra
Clayton Capra

There is no reliable test for impairment. Why are people so reluctant to accept that fact?

Clayton Capra
Clayton Capra

No. They're looking to pin anything on Marijuana and we've all heard various police testimonies against marijuana over the past year; they're fairly clueless.

שרי אורדאז
שרי אורדאז

I do, but I can't blame weed for its misuse. That's just a bad set of choices, and their outcome.

Pamela Bodensieck
Pamela Bodensieck

I lost my little bro from a drunk driver who got off with a slap on the wrist that's what is wrong with our system they are going after the wrong people sending people to jail that don't need to be there but because they can't pay for a good lawyer there fucked then the ones that need jail time cuz you no they will do it again cuz our damn kids today have no remorse get the good lawyer and mommy and daddy pays there fine. Our system needs an overhaul from crime to child abuse worked comp white collar crimes I smoke pot and I am proud to but every day that goes by and u hear of these people getting off just makes me want to get the hell out ta here

Zandra Voss-Wagner
Zandra Voss-Wagner

I think I know these kids. They look so familiar to me. Not sure if they are from or were in this area for awhile. But I know they are very fimiliar to me.

Jeffrey Fennig
Jeffrey Fennig

I wasn't there so I really can't know what happened. The one thing I do know is if my son died in a house fire they would have found my body in there somewhere too because I wouldn't have left the house without him.

Jay Baca
Jay Baca

Your lifestyle will always clash when children are involved. You have to sacrifice because you cant live both, this young couple tried to have their cake and eat it to and payed the ultimate sacrifice. Children are not toy's. And as far is dependency and neglect cases in Colorado it's a circus that they the law makers are the worst care takers of children ever.

Aundra Thompson
Aundra Thompson

Don't be mentally altered taking care of a child period...it's not complicated they come before your need for substance abuse When they don't and you aren't dying in an attempt to save your kid You're in the wrong!

Amber Rae Schultes
Amber Rae Schultes

Id say the "little white pills" were the culperate, not the marijuana

Charlene McCune
Charlene McCune

What I find so weird about prosecutors using pot as a contributing factor, then what has been the excuse of all those kids that have been shoved in a closet and let to starve? Mental illness is what does it... and as Ken says, shitty parents...

Charlene McCune
Charlene McCune

no... but I am sure meth and crack did.. along with drinking...

Kyler Meers
Kyler Meers

I realize Westword covers many marijuana-related stories. The way this one comes across, however, your coverage insinuates much more strongly than the 7News report that marijuana was the cause of this fire. As well, the family photos were useful in illustrating the story, but why also include large, frontal portraits of the parents? In case we couldn't see their faces clearly enough already? What purpose could that serve other than to publicly shame two working-class people who've not been found guilty? I don't buy the notion that this is the fault of marijuana.

Amber Shearer
Amber Shearer

Would this be the same if the parents drank a bottle of wine and left a candle burning, thus igniting the fire and resulting in the same consequence?

Matthew Munn
Matthew Munn

Even if so, this would make ONE for marijuana, and still millions from alcohol fueled child abuse.

Theron Gay
Theron Gay

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO !!!!!!!!!!!

Tabitha Livengood
Tabitha Livengood

No way!!! I smoke I have two children and run a home biz homeschool my oldest and I work a part time job cleaning houses. Plus they even said that the father had burns proving he was in the house trying his best to get those boys out. And didn't they say there were reports about the mother having little white pills in hers and that boys possession. Let's blame pot even though we have paperwork stating that mother may have a drug (pill) problem

Rob Lilyandgabe Perez
Rob Lilyandgabe Perez

You gotta be fucking retarted to think that marijuana inhibits you to the point of not being able to function properly. I mean dont get me wrong people do stupid stuff in pot but chances are they were stupid before they smoked

Michael Vincent
Michael Vincent

irresponsible people do irresponsible things... this shouldn't be a marijuana issue

Nick Jones
Nick Jones

Eugene said it, stupid is with or without pot. Btw I heard they ate Cheetos too.

Charlie Forsyth
Charlie Forsyth

An article I've read mentions "little white pills" found on the floor and in a child's hand during a visit by protective services. But that wouldn't have anything to do with why the parents are inebriated would it Jonah Fox???

Sean Valdez
Sean Valdez

How are these parents crappy, the father got burns on his hands and arms trying to get back in the house to save his kids. This is a fucked up situation and maybe the media, authorities and all of us should shut the fuck up and let them mourn. The anti weed people have done this twice before they have even completed the investigation. In CA over the weekend some kid looked down at a text message ran into two people killing one of them, the anti pot people jumped on it and said he was on weed even though there is no evidence proving he was on weed at the time its all nonsense.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

Bad parenting has nothing to do with weed. It's just bad parents being bad parents. There's too many successful stoners whose houses aren't catching fire to make this a legit argument in court.

Brian Tate
Brian Tate

you're right, it does. so a good parent would know when to use it and when to refrain. these people are shitty parents and deserve the time.

Teresa McGlohorn
Teresa McGlohorn

Where the hell was all this concern before it was legal?? Geez

Bob Ziegler
Bob Ziegler

Everyone lookin for an excuse to put the blame on pot

Jonah Fox
Jonah Fox

Pot inebriates. Why are people so reluctant to accept that fact?

Yeshua Musgrove
Yeshua Musgrove

yes because all marijuana users are irresponsible. orrrrrrr some parents make mistakes and some people are naturally irresponsible. what would they blame this on other than marijuana? people you drink are angels sooooo.....but not need to through mary jane under the bus because he is a card holder. BS!

Maria Nieto
Maria Nieto

And here is the first "example" of why weed is bad. Now the media will take the weed factor and run with it. Never mind that this is one family out of millions who parents smoke weed.

Heather Ellerbrock Deckard
Heather Ellerbrock Deckard

Sure why not there's gotta be one a year, right? I mean if there are hundreds a day that alcohol was involved or smoking was involved then I think one a year isn't so bad...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Hey Fluffmaster Michael ... why did you deliberately fail to categorize this story under Marijuana ??


Too bad the CPA doesn't give awards for Most Deceptive and Dishonest Journalist, eh?


RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Even if the parents deliberately gave their child cannabis it would not explain or justify charging them with child abuse resulting in death.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RobertChase  


"I oppose the recreational use of cannabis by minors"

-- Robert "dilettante" Chase



RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  You specialize in the totally non-responsive reply.  Most children do not need cannabis, but no amount of it can kill.  Failing to do something is called "neglect"; actively doing harm is "abuse"; it should come as no surprise that the language of the statutes regarding children's welfare is as garbled as the rest.

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