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Oklahoma executed Gary Welch on January 5, 2012, for the 1994 stabbing death of Robert Hardcastle.

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Hardcaste was killed during a fight that broke out over a drug deal. A co-defendant who was also sentenced to death, later had his sentence reduced to life without parole and died in 2001 of natural causes.

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Welch maintained that he acted in self defense, testifying at a hearing before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, "To me, this was life or death. It was just luck that I survived. My intentions were never to kill him. But I also didn't intend for him to kill me either."

The parole board narrowly denied clemency to Welch by a 3-2 vote. Three weeks ago, Welch attempted to kill himself by slashing his neck. He was quickly taken to the hospital by prison guards and was closely monitored thereafter.

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This is the first execution in the United States in 2012.

Andy Love
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