gary welch oklahoma
Gary Welch - Oklahoma

Gary Welch was executed by the State of Oklahoma for the murder of a man over drugs. According to court documents Gary Welch and the victim Robert Dean Hardcastle, 35, were involved in an argument over drugs when Gary beat and slashed Robert with a beer bottle causing his death.. Gary maintain the killing was in self defense however the judge felt differently and sentenced him to death. Gary Welch would be executed by lethal injection on January 6, 2013.

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Gary Welch More News

 The state of Oklahoma executed Gary Roland Welch on Thursday evening for his role in a 1994 slaying in Ottawa County.

As soon as the lethal injection was administered at 6:05 p.m., Welch began to chant repeatedly, “Valhalla. Odin. Slay the beast!” until he lost consciousness. He was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m.

Welch, 49, offered no apology or show of remorse for the slaying of Robert Dean Hardcastle, 35, in a dispute over drugs in Miami, Okla.

He gave a short speech before the injection in which he thanked the inmates of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary’s H unit for clanging on their cell doors before his execution – a tradition the inmates view as a sign of respect.

“I want to acknowledge that my brothers are here for me, to send me off on my journey,” he said. “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.”

He then began his chant, presumed to be a reference to Norse mythology.

Welch maintained that he killed Hardcastle in self-defense, and he appeared unrepentant and indignant at a clemency hearing in December.

“I was right on 8/25/94, and I’m right now,” Welch said at the hearing. “I’m not coming up here today crying, begging and sniveling for my life. I’m only here to speak my mind.”

A few weeks after that hearing, Welch attempted suicide in his cell with a contraband razor blade. He recovered and was deemed competent for Thursday’s execution.

Prosecutors said Welch assaulted Hardcastle in the victim’s duplex and then chased him outside when he fled. Welch and co-conspirator Claudie Conover continued assaulting Hardcastle in a ditch at the end of the street, where multiple witnesses said they saw Welch punch and stab Hardcastle before slashing him with a broken beer bottle.

Conover originally was sentenced to death, as well, but his sentence was reduced to life in prison without parole possible. He died of natural causes in 2001 at the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy.

Oklahoma Assistant Attorney General Robert Whitaker argued that forensic evidence and court testimony in Welch’s case contradicted his claims of self-defense.

Two hours before Welch killed Hardcastle, he had pulled a knife on someone else in the Miami area, demanding drugs.

He killed Hardcastle to send a message regarding a shipment of drugs that had been sent to the wrong address and turned over to police, prosecutors argued.

“Gary Welch had a 15-year history of violent crimes that included multiple assaults on women and police officers, burglary, stabbings and carrying concealed weapons before his conviction for murder,” Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a written statement.

“The punishment of death as chosen by a jury of Welch’s peers is reserved for the most heinous crimes. My thoughts are with Robert Hardcastle’s family and what they have endured for the past 17 years.”

Hardcastle had twin sons who were 2 years old when their father was killed.

Several of Hardcastle’s family members, along with law enforcement officials from Ottawa County, witnessed Welch’s execution, the first of the year in the state as well as the country.

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