Attorney wants second opinion regarding Ross student charged with murder

The attorney for a Ross High School student charged with murder has asked for a second opinion regarding the competency of his client.

Zachary Welsh, 17, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the fatal shooting of a fellow student, Austin Hensley.

RELATED: Ross Twp. teen charged in fatal shooting pleads insanity

Defense attorney Richard Hyde asked for a “second opinion” this morning regarding the competency of Welsh.

Hyde previously indicated the teen has a form of autism.

Welsh’s mental state was evaluated by the Forensic Evaluation Service Center in Hamilton. Those results were not released by the court. The second evaluation will be conducted by Dr. Bobbie Hopes, according to court records.

Welsh will appear next before Judge Greg Stephens in Butler County Common Pleas Court on June 11. He is being held in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $750,000 bond.

Welsh was indicted for murder as well as aggravated robbery, felonious assault, and tampering with evidence.

Hensley was found in a house with a shotgun laying against his temple. He died of one shot to the head, and police later learned the shotgun was not loaded.

Butler County Sheriff’s Detective Joe Nerlinger said Welsh originally told him he shot Hensley in self-defense.

During later questioning, Welsh said he intended to rob Hensley of the shotgun, but when he went to “pistol whip” the teen, the gun went off, Nerlinger said. Welsh said he then wiped down the gun, washed his hands and stashed the .38 caliber in a hole in a closet of another room.

“Eventually he came clean, said it was his intention to rob Hensley,” Nerlinger said.

Because of Welsh’s age and the seriousness of the crime, the case was a mandatory relinquishment to adult court.

This article contains previous reporting by staff writer Lauren Pack.

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