Man charged in 1993 murder of Arnold liquor store owner dies in custody


JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – A man charged in a 1993 murder died at a hospital Thursday while in the custody of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Arnold Police arrested Loril Harp on September 20, 2020 for the 1993 death of Steve Weltig.

Harp had been at the hospital for weeks prior to his death. Before he was incarcerated, he spent nine months at the Riverview Care Center in St. Louis.

Jefferson County Missouri Sheriff Dave Marshak said Harp’s death was anticipated.

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.

Arnold Police Chief Robert Shockey said Harp admitted to the crime when re-interviewed by detectives. 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.

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.”

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