ARNOLD, Mo. – The man charged with a decades-old unsolved murder at an Arnold liquor store likely confessed to clear his conscious, police said Wednesday.
Arnold Police Chief Robert Shockey said Loril “Bill” Harp, 68, admitted to the crime when re-interviewed by detectives.
The Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Harp with first-degree and armed criminal action for the death of 40-year-old Steve Weltig.
FOX 2 reported Monday about the confession but did not release details on Harp’s identity because he had not been charged.
By Wednesday afternoon, warrants were issued and Harp was arrested.
The case dates back 27 years. In April 1993, police were called to a homicide at Ajax Liquor Store on JeffCo Boulevard.
Weltig, the owner, had been shot in the head. He was two months shy of his 41st birthday.
Shockey said that Harp had gotten into a disagreement with Weltig and that the argument escalated quickly.
“We truly believe he did not go there to shoot Steve. We believe he was there to settle a score and it just got out of hand,” Chief Shockey said.
In 2015, a tip led detectives to Harp. Detectives were certain he was the suspect. There just wasn’t enough evidence to charge him – until last week.
Harp, now 68, has been in assisted living care and his health has been failing, police said.
In the latest interview with detectives, he admitted to the murder, police said.
“I think he just felt that it was time to clear the air. Clear his conscious. He’s not in good health. That may have something to do with it,” Shockey said.
The alleged admission gives closure to a case that has weighed on the Weltig family and the Arnold community for decades.
In 2003, FOX 2 interviewed Weltig’s family.
“If only they could let us know who did it. And why. Why did they have to kill him,” Weltig’s mother said in 2003.
She has since passed, but the family—and the Arnold Police Department—never gave up hope. For the past 27 years, Arnold detectives have poured over the evidence in the case.
“It’s just good to finally put this to bed. And the family, they have closure over this homicide,” he said. “It also gives closure to the police department. We’ve got a lot of employees, present and past, that have worked on it. And it’s been a huge team effort, and they’ve done a great job. The detectives involved have done a great job.”