LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A Clearlake man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an August 2012 stabbing in Santa Rosa that prosecutors charged as a hate crime.
Aaron Joseph Welch, 26, a Barbarian Brotherhood gang member, pleaded guilty on Thursday to two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and admitted to personally inflicting great bodily injury on one victim, along with hate crime and gang allegations, according to Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch.
“Gang violence will not be tolerated and will continue to be aggressively prosecuted,” Ravitch said. “The hate crime aspect of the assault makes the crime particularly egregious.”
The charges resulted from an assault that took place near the McDonald’s on Santa Rosa Avenue in South Santa Rosa, Ravitch’s office reported.
On Aug. 26, 2012, at approximately 2:00 a.m., it is alleged that Welch and co-defendant Salvatore Bordessa both wielded knives and assaulted two male victims.
Welch is alleged to have stabbed one of the victims in the arm and leg requiring stitches to close each wound.
During the assault Welch yelled racial slurs and “BBH,” the common initials of a white supremacist criminal street gang, the “Barbarian Brotherhood,” of which Welch is a member.
Sentencing is set for Thursday, Feb. 21, before the Judge Gary Medvigy.
The guilty pleas are part of a plea negotiation in which Welch will be sentenced to prison for 15 years, Ravitch reported.
Bordessa’s preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday, Feb. 19, along with Vanessa Michaels, who is alleged to have taken a telephone from a witness, preventing the police from being called.
The case is prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jason Riehl. Sgt. John Cregan and Det. Kyle Philp of the Santa Rosa Police Department headed the investigation.