Defense attorney Laura Copsey and Bryan Paul Jeffries
During a court hearing on December 11, Michael Welch claimed that a houseguest, Bryan Paul Jeffries, 30, threatened and punched him and demanded money in December of 2012.
The attorney for Jeffries suggested that he was the object of unwanted sexual advances by Welch, his 62-year-old employer, and then Welch failed to pay Jeffries’s wage.
Michael Welch said he was punched, threatened, and robbed.
Welch claimed that he had invited Jeffries to his home because he believed that Welch “had a hard time finding work” and “he seemed like a nice person.” The two men met at a dinner party in Jeffries’s home town of Santa Maria, according to Welch. Welch, who owns a plumbing company, said he bought a train ticket for Jeffries to come to San Diego County and that Jefferies worked one weekend for him at a construction site, for which he was paid $400 cash.
On the next occasion that Jeffries came to San Diego County to work, on December 10, 2012, Welch claimed that Jeffries became drunk after work and was “almost passed out” on his couch. Then the two men argued about who had urinated on papers on his living-room floor, according to Welch; he claimed that Jeffries implicated his housecats. Welch said he offered to drive his now-unwanted guest from his Encinitas home to Oceanside, where Jeffries said he had friends.
Defense attorney Laura Copsey said Jeffries suggested that Welch sexually assaulted him and did not pay his worker. Welch denied any sexual assault and stated that he intended to pay Jeffries later, after he “sobered up.”
During a court hearing on December 11, 2013, Welch claimed that he was driving his truck on the 5 freeway when Jeffries, his passenger, “grabbed the steering wheel” and caused them to careen “back and forth across the freeway.” Welch claimed he was “terrified” while Jeffries threatened him and demanded money.
Welch said he took the Carlsbad Village Drive exit and drove to the ATM of his bank and withdrew $400 cash to give to Jeffries.
Defense attorney Copsey suggested that Welch has been previously accused of sexually assaulting young men who had worked for him; she named Mark Armando as one accuser whom she alleged has filed a suit against Welch.
Jeffries pleaded not guilty to two felonies. He is currently in jail, in lieu of $100,000 bail. Judge Timothy Casserly set a date for trial on April 1, 2014, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.