Missouri man faces 10 years to life for murdering estranged wife after son’s funeral

Posted at 8:30 AM, February 27, 2020 and last updated 9:59 PM, May 31, 2023

By Court TV Staff

UPDATED 2/27/20

Danny Welte faces anywhere from 10 years to life in prison after a jury convicted him Wednesday of second-degree murder for shooting his estranged wife hours after they buried their son during an argument over their relationship.

The jury of six men and six women also convicted Welte of armed criminal action for using a gun to kill Echo Welte after chasing her down in a hotel parking lot and firing a single bullet into the back of her head. Armed criminal action carries a sentence of three years to life in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 4. Per Missouri law, he must serve his sentence for second-degree murder after serving the sentence for armed criminal action.



A Missouri man who lost his son to suicide is now standing trial for the murder of his estranged wife.

Danny Welte Sr., 44, is accused of fatally shooting 41-year-old Echo Leanne Welte on Nov. 17,  2016, just hours after the couple buried their son.

Investigators say Welte shot his wife in the Kirksville Days Inn parking lot during an argument about their relationship. Welte allegedly fired the weapon four times before a bystander stepped in to stop him. He then stepped around the witness and fatally shot Echo Welte.

Welte then reportedly fled the scene before surrendering outside the Kirksville Police Department over an hour later.

He is facing charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.



  • June 8: Echo Welte files first petition to Dissolution of Marriage with Parenting Plan.
  • Sept. 1: Danny & Echo Welte request a voluntary dismissal of the petition to Dissolve Marriage.
  • Sept. 20: Echo Welte files second petition to Dissolution of Marriage with Parenting Plan.
  • Nov. 13: Danny Welte Sr. and Echo Leanne Welte lose their son to reported suicide.
  • Nov. 16: Hours after their son’s funeral, Welte confronts his estranged wife at the Kirksville Days Inn, where she was staying amidst their divorce proceedings. He allegedly shoots his wife during an argument and flees.
    • Police respond to the scene at approximately 10:45 p.m. Echo Welte is pronounced dead at the scene.
    • Approximately 90 minutes later, Welte surrenders outside the Kirksville Police Department after speaking with negotiators.
  • Nov. 21: Welte is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.


  • June 5: Trial scheduled for Jan. 8, 2018.
  • Dec. 15: Trial rescheduled for July 30, 2018.


  • July 10: Defendant’s Motion for Continuance granted. Trial set to be rescheduled.


  • Mar. 11: Trial scheduled for May 13, 2019.
  • May 9: State’s Motion for Continuance granted. Trial set to be rescheduled.
  • June 3: Trial scheduled for Feb. 25, 2020.


  • Feb. 25: Jury selection in the trial of MO v. Danny Welte Sr. begins.
  • Feb. 26: Jury convicts Danny Welte of second-degree and armed criminal action after less than three hours of deliberations.
    • The state rested after calling nine witnesses.
    • The defense did not put on a case.
    • The victim’s daughter Bethany Wellman calls her father by his first name as she describes the chain of events before and after the shooting, including the phone call after the shooting in which the defendant in which he apologized and said, “I ruined everything.”
    • Active bystander James Dykes describes trying to intervene after hearing Echo Welte yell “he’s trying to kill me.” But Dykes could not stop Danny Welte from chasing his wife down the parking lot and shooting her
    • Jury hears the defendant’s post-Miranda interview in which he says he decided to go for his gun because he was “tired of arguing” with his wife and felt “betrayed” by her because she did not call to notify him after their son shot himself.