McALESTER, Okla. (AP) - An Oklahoma inmate has been put to death for killing a man during a knife fight nearly two decades ago, marking the nation's first execution this year.
Forty-nine-year-old Gary Roland Welch was given a lethal injection at 6:10 p.m. Thursday at the state penitentiary in McAlester for the fatal stabbing of 35-year-old Robert Hardcastle in Miami, Okla.
Nearly three weeks ago, Welch attempted suicide by slitting his throat with a smuggled shaving razor. Prison officials and Welch's court-appointed attorney insisted he was sane and understood his fate.
Welch continued to maintain that he only killed Hardcastle in self-defense. Welch remained defiant at a hearing last month before the state Pardon and Parole Board, telling the board he wasn't "here today crying, begging or sniveling for my life."
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)