Sunday, January 8, 2012

Oklahoma Executes Killer Who Tried to Kill Himself

The 1st Execution of 2012

Gary Roland Welch was executed on January 6, 2012 for fatally stabbing 35-year-old Robert Hardcastle during a drug dispute in 1994.  He was declared dead at 6:10 p.m. local time at the state penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma.

According to MSNBC, minutes before the lethal drugs were administered, other death row inmates could be heard banging on their cell walls, and Welch paid tribute to them during his final statement.

"I was just going to ask everybody if they could hear my brothers out there," Welch said. "I know it's kind of quiet now, but I want to acknowledge that my brothers are here with me to send me off on my journey. They are here on my behalf. They've already given me my little send off. So let's get it on because that's what we're here for."

Before he died, Welch chanted apparent references to Norse mythology, which he had studied behind bars. On his fourth chant, Welch passed out as the drugs began to kick in.

Earlier in the day, he was given fish from Long John Silver's for his last meal, prison officials said.

At his request, nobody attended the execution on his behalf, and Hardcastle's family members declined comment afterward, reported MSNBC.

Welch's execution came nearly three weeks after he tried to kill himself by slitting his throat with a smuggled shaving razor. Prison officials and Welch's own court-appointed attorney insisted he was sane and understood his fate.

Welch was the first execution of 2012.  There were 43 executions in 2011. The execution brings to 1,278 the number of people executed in the United States since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

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