McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

December 17, 2011

Okla. death row inmate attempts suicide, listed in critical condition

McALESTER — Oklahoma State Penitentiary death row inmate Gary Roland Welch attempted suicide in his cell at OSP late Friday evening.

Welch, 49, was recently denied clemency by the Oklahoma State Pardon and Parole Board and is scheduled to be executed Jan. 5 at 6 p.m.

According to OSP Warden’s Assistant Terry Crenshaw, Welch used “a homemade device made from shaving razors to inflict his injuries.”

Crenshaw said security and medical staff responded immediately and transported Welch to the prison’s on-site medical facility.

“Offender Welch’s injuries did require him to be transported by ambulance to a local medical facility for treatment,” Crenshaw said.

The News-Capital saw Welch, surrounded by four Department of Corrections officers, in the Intensive Care Unit at the McAlester Regional Health Center at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Crenshaw told the News-Capital that “Welch’s condition at this time is listed as critical.

Welch received his death sentence in 1996 after he was found guilty of the Aug. 25, 1994, murder of 35-year-old Robert Dean Hardcastle.

Welch has continued to maintain that his killing of Hardcaslte was in self-defense. However, Welch’s death sentence has been upheld by all courts, as all of his appeals have been denied.

If his execution is carried out as scheduled, Welch will be the first death row inmate in the United States to be executed in the year 2012.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smart phone.

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