Oklahoma inmate Gary Roland Welch, 49, , is set to be the first person executed in 2012. Welch is scheduled to be executed tonight at 6 p.m. for his first degree murder conviction for the Aug. 25, 1994, slaying of 35-year-old Robert Dean Hardcastle in Miami, Okla.
The first 2011 execution in the U.S. also took place at Oklahoma State Penitentiary , when Oklahoma death row inmate Billy Don Alverson, 39, was executed on Jan. 6, 2011, for the Feb. 26, 1995, murder of 30-year-old Richard Kevin Yost, during a robbery of the Quik Trip in Tulsa, where Yost was the store’s night clerk.
Welch has maintained that he killed Hardcastle in self-defense. The U.S Supreme Court of Appeals denied Welch’s last appeal on Oct. 3. Immediately following the denial, the State of Oklahoma Attorney General’s office requested an execution date be scheduled for Welch. The state Pardon and Parole Board voted 3-2 on Dec. 5 to deny Welch’s request for clemency.
On Dec. 16, Welch attempted to commit suicide in his cell at OSP by cutting his neck with a homemade device constructed out of shaving razors. He was found bleeding in his cell and had to be rushed to the McAlester Regional Health Center, a local hospital, where he spent three days in the intensive care unit.
Welch was released from ICU and is currently being housed in OSP’s infirmary unit. Shortly after his arrival back at the prison, OSP Warden Randy Workman told the McAlester News-Capital that he was doing good. “He’s eating and talking and showed some remorse,” Workman said.
OSP Warden’s Assistant Terry Crenshaw said Welch is being “monitored 24 hours a day and will continue to be monitored up until his execution.”