Minneapolis man receives 40-year prison sentence for murder

Wednesday, a Minneapolis man learned his fate after being found guilty of fatally hitting a motorcyclist last summer.

Thirty-two-year-old Quantelize Jerell Welch was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years in prison, the maximum sentence due to prior convictions, for one count of second-degree murder. He will be eligible for parole after two-thirds of that sentence is served, and is receiving credit for 376 days already served. Two other charges — another count of second-degree murder and one count of criminal vehicular homicide — are unadjudicated as of this time.

Welch was charged in the death of 26-year-old Caleb Hutchins.

As previously reported, Welch was found guilty of all charges earlier this year during a bench trial after waiving his right to a jury trial.

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A criminal complaint states police were called to a reported hit-and-run in an alley between Penn Avenue North and Queen Avenue North in July 2021, where Hutchins was found with “major injuries.” He eventually died at North Memorial Health Hospital.

A man driving a stolen white SUV followed Hutchins into the alley, the complaint states. One witness told police the SUV hit the back of the dirt bike motorcycle, knocking Hutchins off.

Witnesses who testified in the trial said they heard the SUV revving its engine before charging down the alley toward Hutchins.

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Three witnesses who saw the crash helped identify Welch as the driver. A fourth man, whose stolen vehicle matched the one used in the incident, said he had given a ride to a person he knew as “Zeast Man” or “Beast Man” on July 17. According to the witness, Welch drove away in the vehicle, saying he’d be back in 20 minutes, but never came back.

Police later recovered the vehicle near 33rd Avenue North and Sixth Street North. It had front-end damage and blue paint on the bumper that matched the dirt bike.

On the day of the crash, police said they believed Welch was targeting Hutchins.