Neighbors surprised by former Marine’s violent past

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CONCORD, N.C. -- A former Marine from North Carolina had been living in relative anonymity until the FBI arrested him last month in Concord, his neighbors said.

Kristen Welter lived in a trailer near the Charlotte Motor Speedway for years. In all that time, his neighbors said they never got to know the man they described as a loner.

But this week, they all found out Welter was convicted of trying to murder a state trooper with explosives in 1986, and that the FBI and federal prosecutors considered him a danger to society.

"I can't believe that, because he's a pretty quiet, laid-back gentleman," said Howard Bunger, who had lived across the street from Welter for three years. Bunger said all he knew was that Welter liked to build and fly remote-controlled airplanes.

In federal court in Greensboro Wednesday, FBI Agent Michael Davis outlined Welter's 1986 conviction, his 2006 conversion to Islam and his 2011 visit to Lebanon, where Welter told U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement agents he may have been contacted by members of Hezbollah.

The U.S. Government considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

Welter's next-door neighbors, Angela Kirby and Don Robinson, said they do not believe Welter is a terrorist. Howard Bunger said the same.

"I wouldn't think so. I don't know what a terrorist -- just like you and I talking. I don't know what you are and you don't know what I am, in that sense," Bunger said.

In court Wednesday, Asst. U.S. Attorney Graham Green questioned FBI Agent Davis about YouTube videos Welter had posted of his RC airplane flights. The U.S. Attorney's office would not confirm Welter's YouTube username, nor confirm which videos he had posted.

However FOX8 discovered multiple RC airplane videos posted by the username KrisW28072.

Kristen Welter's zip code in Concord, where he lived and flew his planes, is 28072. The videos discovered by FOX8 also match several other characteristics described by Agent Davis in his testimony Wednesday.

Don Robinson said the FBI was back in the neighborhood Thursday morning asking more questions about Welter.

"I told them I didn't know nothing about him aside from that he was a real loner," Robinson said.

Kristen Welter is due to stand trial on his gun charge May 14 in Greensboro. He is currently being held in federal custody in the Alamance County Jail.

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