The year’s first U.S. execution

Three days and three events leave me shaking my head in wonder.

On Friday, December 16, 2011, 49-year old Gary Roland Welch was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for cuts to his neck in an apparent suicide attempt.

On Sunday, December 18, 2011, he was returned to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Yesterday, January 5, 2012, at 6:05, Welch received a lethal injection. Five minutes later, he was pronounced dead.

After treating his wounds, the state of Oklahoma executed Welch – the first in the United States for 2012.

Welch was convicted for the 1994 slaying of Robert Dean Hardcastle, 35, in a dispute over drugs in Miami, Oklahoma.

Reports indicate that Welch offered no apology and showed no remorse for the slaying. He maintained that the slaying was an act of self-defense. The Oklahoma Assistant Attorney General argued that forensic evidence and court testimony contradicted the claim of self-defense.

Robert Dean Hardcastle had twin sons who were two years old when their father was killed.

I grieve for those young men who knew their father for such a short time. I grieve for Robert Dean Hardcastle who had such a brief time to know his children. I grieve for all who loved Robert Dean Hardcastle.

But I also grieve for Gary Ronald Welch and all who loved him. Whatever he did, however he felt about his actions, he too was God’s child.

I grieve that the state has again taken a life. I grieve for what that says about us – about me.

There has to be a better way.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty

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