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p0344 BC-HomeInvasion 4thLd-Writethru 03-31 0436

Recently freed inmate arrested in Conn. home invasion; woman killed, another wounded

Eds: ADDS that suspect was freed from prison March 4, served sentence for sex crime, other detail.

AP Photo NY112, NY111

By STEPHEN SINGER

Associated Press Writer

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NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — A sex offender recently freed from prison was arrested in the death of a woman abducted while visiting a friend, police said Monday. The friend was shot and seriously wounded.

The body of MaryEllen Welsh, 62, was found in a wooded area of Bristol, about 10 miles from New Britain, where she was abducted Sunday. She had apparently been shot, New Britain police said.

She was visiting a friend Sunday morning when someone broke into the house, Sgt. Darren Pearson said. The friend, identified as Carol Larese, 65, was badly wounded but was expected to recover.

Authorities arrested Leslie Williams, 31, when he crashed Welsh’s car in Watertown after a police chase about five hours after the home invasion.

Williams has been charged with attempted murder, robbery, kidnapping with a firearm and other crimes connected with what happened to Larese, Pearson said. He said police were preparing to charge him in connection with crimes against Welsh. Williams was expected to be in court on Monday.

Pearson said it appears Williams acted alone in what he called a "crime of opportunity." Police said Welsh had been undergoing treatment for cancer and had a port in her chest.

Williams was released March 4 from the medium-security Osborne Correctional Institution in Somers after serving eight years in prison for convictions in 2000 of sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, according to state Department of Correction records.

Brian Garnett, a correction spokesman, said Monday that Williams was disciplined twice in prison for making threats, once for violating provisions of a program there, and once for tampering with security.

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He was denied parole in March 2006, and was placed on five years probation when he was released from prison, Garnett said.

According to the state sex offender registry, he lives in Hartford.

Cynthia Holland, a friend of the victims, said Monday that the two were having coffee when the home invasion happened.

"She’s a lovely person," Holland said of Welsh.

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