A Michigan man who is accused of killing his mother, stepfather, and ex-girlfriend after being released from jail on bond has now been charged with a fourth murder.
Jonathan Welch, a deranged 23-year-old Detroit man, was released from jail after committing an extremely violent assault. After his release, he immediately committed three murders. Following his second arrest, he was charged with a fourth murder that he had allegedly committed before the others.
The families of the victims are now calling for justice and bond reform to prevent criminals, especially violent ones, from committing preventable acts of violence and murder.
Here is the timeline of the violent assault, release from jail, and brutal murders.
The Torture of Zlayiah Frazier
On June 12, Welch was accused of violently, torturously assaulting his 22-year-old live-in-girlfriend and mother of his son, Zlayiah Frazier.
WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC TORTURE DESCRIPTION
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According to the prosecutor’s office, Welch began his assault on Frazier when he became suspicious about who she was talking to on the phone and wanted to see her text messages. Frazier refused, angering Welch who grabbed an extension cord and began to strangle her. He would repeatedly strangle her, release the pressure to keep her alive, then reapply the pressure.
Welch also burned her arms and legs with a metal spatula he heated up on the stove, telling her “if you don’t tell me, this is going to continue all night.”
The assailant then poured gasoline between her legs and set her on fire.
He also threatened to assault her with a drill and attempted to sexually assault her using a pole.
Meanwhile, the couple’s 1-year-old son was in the room next door.
After about 4 hours, Frazier was able to convince Welch to temporarily take the extension cord off her so she could comfort their crying son. After calming the child down, she ran out the front door to a neighbor’s home for help.
Welch was arrested and charged with several felonies including torture.
Despite the danger Welch clearly posed to his girlfriend and society in general, 36th District Court Magistrate Dawn White set his bond at a mere $100,000 / 10 percent cash surety – meaning he only had to post a $10,000 bond.
Welch was released from jail on a Friday and by Sunday his ex-girlfriend was dead.
The Murder of Zlayiah Frazier, Robert Bray Jr., and Flossie Nicole Bray
On July 10, police responded to a report of a woman being stabbed at Welch’s mother’s home in Harper Woods.
Welch’s 1-year-old was found crying in the driveway of the home by responding officers, who quickly brought the child to safety.
Soon after police arrived on the scene, Welch began firing at officers from inside the house, which he also set fire to.
A few hours after the confrontation began, police were able to arrest the suspect.
Frazier and Welch’s stepfather, Robert Bray Jr., were found dead inside the house, reportedly from blunt force trauma. Welch’s mother, Flossie Nicole Bray, had been stabbed multiple times with a butcher’s knife and was taken to a hospital but died 6 days later from her injuries.
Welch was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of assault with intent to murder, a count of second-degree arson, seven counts of felonious assault, and six counts of using a firearm during a felony.
He is in jail again, this time without bond. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
Judge Kenneth J. King of the Michigan 36th District Court expressed his regret that Welch had been released on bond in the first place, saying, “I know it’s far too little far too late.”
“This is the court’s worst nightmare, worst possible scenario that could happen and that the witness has been killed after the defendant was placed on bond,” said King.
Michigan attorney James Galen Jr. was more direct with his criticism of the initial bond decision, blaming the magistrate who handled his case for not realizing the threat he posed to society.
“Because [Welch] was not incarcerated [Frazier] is now dead, his father is now dead, his mother is in a hospital bed,” said Galen. “He’s got a baby out there that most likely will never see his father again and will never have a chance to know the baby’s mother.”
“The allegations are one of the things they take into consideration,” said Galen. “There is a number of factors that are supposed to be taken into consideration.”
“He’s 23 years old, a timebomb. I’m not saying the magistrate or judge could’ve predicted that, but with the charges and the nature of the charges, it should’ve been apparent that society needed big protection,” Galen added.
The family of Welch’s ex-girlfriend Zlayiah Frazier has also condemned the Michigan justice system for releasing Welch on bond after the acts of violence he committed against Frazier.
The sister of Frazier, Breonna, said that the system failed her sister.
“It’s broken, it’s definitely broken,” she said. “They should’ve never let him out of prison.”
“They let him out of jail, he killed my sister.”
Another sister of Frazier’s, Shayla, started a Go Fund Me for her sister’s funeral, memorial service, and son, another victim of Welch’s violence.
Shayla described her sister as “always full of laughter and joy,” and “a great young mom.”
“The justice system failed my sister by letting [Welch] out on bond after his first attempt to kill her,” she wrote. “Had he still [been] locked up she would still have her life today.”
Welch is due to appear in court today for a hearing on the three murders.
The Murder of Natayla Morse
On Thursday, Welch was arraigned for a fourth murder.
On June 4, 2022, – just days before Welch began a murderous crime spree – the body of 24-year-old Natayla Morse was discovered in a field on Detroit’s east side. She had died from blunt force trauma to the head.
It has not yet been revealed how authorities have connected Welch to this case, but he is being accused of killing Morse, stealing her car, then setting fire to it.
He has pled not guilty to these charges. There is a probable cause conference scheduled for April 5, and a preliminary examination is scheduled for April 12.
The family of Morse has spoken out about the murder of Natayla, expressing the sadness they are forced to relive as Welch is tried for the murder of their loved one. They have also condemned the Michigan justice system for releasing Welch on bond and allowing him to commit even more murders after assaulting his ex.
Chasity Morse, the mother of Natayla, reported that her daughter died the day before her other daughters graduated.
“You took my daughter. Took somebody I can never get back. Somebody I love so I’m hurt for the rest of my life,” Chasity said. “The last time I saw her, I hugged her and told her I loved her. My kids were about to graduate. She was talking about ‘Oh I’m going to come down to the graduation.’ She died the day before her sisters graduated.”
“They had to walk across the stage the next day, knowing their sister died. I told them, do it for your sister. They went across the stage for her, they did it for her.”
After finding out who was accused of killing Natayla, the victim’s sister Aaliyah criticized the low bond that was set for Welch after the violent crimes he committed.
“Did he deserve a bond? No. Especially that low,” she said. “It’s absurd. I’m honestly speechless.”
“Bond reform definitely needs to become a major thing,” Aaliyah added. “Because this happens all the time. So much could have been prevented if they [had looked] at the bigger picture. You’re a threat to the community.”
Remembering her beloved sister, Aaliyah said, “She was the older sibling of the seven of us. She was loving, the kindest soul you could ever meet. She had drive, she was all about going to work, working on herself, her career. She was really driven to do better.”