Texas Rangers arrested four people this week in connection with a murder-for-hire plot spun out of a love triangle.
Delvin Ajair Powell, 38, Kadie Elizabeth Robinson, 28, Robert Samuel Veal, 35, and Ronnie Keith Welborn, 45, were being held at the Collin County jail on Thursday in connection with the murder of 46-year-old Kelli Underwood who was found dead in her home in Princeton on Sept. 20.
Underwood had a bullet wound in her head, The Dallas Morning News reported. Investigators found five .22-caliber cartridges near her body and said the scene showed signs of a struggle. Neighbors reported an alarm going off at the home twice on Sept. 16. One witness said there were two men in the home at the time.
The investigators first spoke to Wellborn, who was Underwood’s boss at a sheet metal company. Wellborn revealed that he has been Underwood’s lover for several years, even after he kicked her out when Robinson moved in.
Wellborn told the rangers that Robinson did not know that he was still seeing Underwood. Wellborn and Robinson have been together for three years and have a child together.
Wellborn told the rangers that he last spoke to Underwood on Sept. 16, the day that the neighbors reported alarms going off at her home. He also gave conflicting reasons as to why he deleted Underwood’s messages from his phone, according to the court affidavit.
The investigation took a turn when one of the neighbors identified Powell as one of the men seen in Underwood’s home on Sept. 16. Powell had an outstanding assault warrant and U.S. Marshals arrested him on Sept. 27.
Powell was at a hotel with his girlfriend when he was arrested. She told authorities that she was scared of him and that he almost snapped her neck several times.
Investigators found a knife with a broken tip and stained with what looked like blood in the hotel room. They also found a box of .22-caliber bullets, which belonged to Powell inside his girlfriend’s truck.
When questioned, Powell said that he and Veal were both former employees of Welborn. He said that Underwood had hired him and Veal to install a swimming pool in her backyard. They said they spent the night at Underwood’s home on Sept. 15 with another woman present. He said they accidentally set off the alarm.
The investigators then went to speak to Veal, who gave them several conflicting statements about his time at Underwood’s home. Veal told authorities that he had been waiting to speak with them because he was the last one at Underwood’s home.
The detectives took a DNA swab, but Veal noted that his DNA “would be all over Underwood’s house, in every room,” the affidavit states.
The investigation took a turn again when an inmate at the Collin County jail passed a note to an officer, which said that Powell “described how a burglary went bad in Princeton and he brutally murdered a girl.”
The rangers spoke to the inmate who added that Powell said that he “put holes in that [expletive].” He also told the inmate that he thought that the police didn’t have anything on him. Another inmate told investigators that he “smoked that [expletive].”
As the investigation continued, rangers reached out to Powell’s cousin who told them that Powell “hypothetically he was working for somebody else.” They also tracked down the woman who spent that night at Underwood’s house with Veal and Powell. She told them that she saw Veal handing Powell a black handgun.
The rangers then heard from a woman who spoke with Robinson before the murder. The woman revealed that Robinson had given Welborn an ultimatum to fire Underwood after she threatened to burn down their home. Welborn and Robinson devised a plan to plant marijuana in Underwood’s car and tip off the police.
Robinson also told the source that Underwood was causing problems in her relationship with Welborn and that she has been watching Underwood’s house from afar to see how much time Welborn spent there.
When Robinson learned of the murder, she told the source that she was “glad she’s gone.”
After learning all of the above, investigators confronted Robinson this Wednesday and asserted that she was lying to them. At that point, Robinson pointed at a photo of Powell and admitted that she and Welborn paid him $8,000 to kill Underwood.
“Robinson felt this was the only way to mend her relationship with her child’s father,” the affidavit states. “Robinson said her relationship with Welborn has improved since Underwood’s murder.”
Welborn confirmed that account later on Wednesday, telling police that he gave Veal a .22-caliber handgun and left money for him in a freezer.
Investigators used cellphone records to show that Welborn was at Underwood’s home several times after she wall killed. He told police that wanted to be the one to discover her body.
“Welborn stated he was heartbroken because he really did care for her,” the affidavit said.
All four now face charges of capital murder. Robinson, Veal, and Welborn are each being held on a $1 million bail. Powell’s bail was set at $1.5 million because he had other unrelated charges.
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