Looking back on the trial of a murderer
It's been almost three months since a jury found now-convicted murderer Kelly Cochran guilty on all counts. Wednesday, the 34-year-old will hear her fate at her sentencing in Iron County Court.
One of the county's most notorious trials, as prosecuting attorney Melissa Powell put it, bonded two lovers in blood.
"Kelly and Jason Cochran were bonded in blood," Powell said in her opening statement on February 14. "As you can see from these text messages, what was a failing marriage in August and September of 2014, became a 'love fest' after Chris Regan was killed on October 14, 2014."
Cochran was accused of helping her now-deceased husband, Jason Cochran, kill, dismember and then hide the remains of Christopher Regan of Iron River. As the story goes, Kelly worked with Chris in 2014 and the two began a love affair; an affair that the prosecution said would ultimately set Regan's disappearance, and the gruesome series of events following, in motion.
"There is an interview where the defendant has indicated that she and her husband engaged in an agreement, shortly after they were married, that if either one of them were to cheat on the other one, then the person who cheated would have to kill the person that they cheated with," Powell said during a motions hearing in late January.
According to the defense, Cochran was a victim of abuse at the hands of Jason. Cochran claimed that after walking in on a sexual act between the two lovers, an enraged Jason shot Chris Regan and forced Kelly to help mutilate and hide the body. On February 20, for the first time since the three-week trial had begun, jurors heard from the murderer. A video of the 34-year-old Cochran, explaining in her own words how the killing and mutilation of Regan occurred in the basement of the Cochran home was played in court.
"So it was cut from up here?" lead investigator on the case Laura Frizzo asks Cochran in the video.
"Here," Cochran demonstrates to Frizzo in the police footage.
"And I would say almost every drop of blood from the parts was on the floor."
Numerous versions of it had been told by the murderer to law enforcement, but on the 6th day of her murder trial, Kelly Cochran told the jury her side of the story. She relived the moments before and on the day of Regan's death. Cochran began her testimony by explaining the abuse she allegedly suffered. According to her testimony, Jason had physically abused her throughout their entire marriage and had held a gun to her head, threatening to kill her on numerous occasions.
"He put a gun to my head; he was gonna shoot me, he was gonna shoot himself...he was gonna just end right there," Cochran said. "There was a gunshot, and we fell down the stairs," she testified.
"And now, was he still having sex with you, at that time that you fell down the stairs together?" Defense Attorney Michael Scholke asked.
"We'd be in the middle of it."
After mutilating the body, Cochran said Jason stuffed Regan's remains into several trash bags but that she refused to assist him or have any part in helping him carry them.
"I don't care if he shoots me right there, I wasn't carrying those bags," Cochran said.
"Why was that the point that you didn't care about him shooting you?" Scholke asked Cochran.
"Because, I couldn't prevent him from being killed, but I wasn't gonna be a part of him being treated like garbage."
When it was Powell's turn to question the murderer, she continued to highlight the inconsistencies with Cochran's story and the different versions of events she had given authorities in an effort to disprove the notion that Cochran was victimized.
"Now, you had mentioned several times, I believe, during your testimony that you had no other choice, that Jason would kill you, that he would find a way and kill you if you told on him, correct?" Powell asked.
"Correct," Cochran replied.
"Did it ever occur to you to make an anonymous phone call to tell the police where Chris Regan's remains were or to make an anonymous phone call and tell them what Jason did?"
The nearly three-week murder trial had been a long time coming and on February 28, it finally came to an end. After deliberating for just under three hours, the verdict was in...guilty on all counts in the death of 53-year-old Christopher Regan of Iron River. Cochran was found guilty on five counts, which include first degree murder, conspiracy to commit dead bodies-disinterment and mutilation, concealing the death of an individual, larceny in a building and lying to a peace officer.
She now faces a sentence of life behind bars and also faces charges in the death of Jason Cochran in Indiana where, if convicted, the punishment there may be much harsher.