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Man Put To Death In Oklahoma Marking First US Execution In 2012

1/6/2012 2:14 AM ET

Marking the first execution of 2012 in the United States, a 49-year-old man was put to death by lethal injection at the McAleste penitentiary in Oklahoma State on Thursday evening.

Gary Roland Welch, who had attempted suicide in the prison three weeks ago, was given the lethal injection for murdering Robert Dean Hardcastle, 35, in a knife fight in Miami, Oklahoma, nearly two decades ago. He was pronounced dead at 6:10 p.m., media reports said quoting prison officials.

Welch was the first to be executed n the U.S. and the first in Oklahoma since January 2011, according to the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center, which monitors executions.

An alleged drug addict, Welch was reported to have confessed that he killed Hardcastle in self defense after he went to the man's flat in Miami to barter for drugs and was unexpectedly attacked.

Oklahoma Attorney-General Scott Pruitt said 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 he was convicted for murder.

Oklahoma executed two prisoners in 2011 and Welch's execution brings to 1,278 the number of people put to death in the United States since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, according to official data.

by RTT Staff Writer

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