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Oklahoma's First Execution Of 2012 Set For Thursday Evening

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Picture of Gary Welch. [file photo] Picture of Gary Welch. [file photo]
McALESTER, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma's first execution of 2012 will take place at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester Thursday evening.

Gary Welch is on Oklahoma's death row for stabbing a man to death in Miami back in 1994. Welch recently tried to kill himself in prison with a shaving razor. He was treated at a McAlester hospital where doctors and prison staff decided he was still sane enough to be executed.

Welch continues to maintain that he killed Robert Hardcastle with a knife in self-defense and has refused to apologize for the slaying.

Welch was denied clemency last month.

1/2/2012 Related Story: Convicted Oklahoma Killer To Be Put To Death Thursday

The attempted suicide marked the second time in about 17 years that an Oklahoma death row inmate tried to kill himself before being executed.

In 1995, Robert Brecheen overdosed on sedatives hours before his scheduled execution.

He was rushed to a hospital where doctors pumped his stomach. He was then returned to prison and executed.

Welch is scheduled to die at 6 p.m.

Statement from Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt:

"Gary 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 his conviction for murder," Attorney General Scott Pruitt said. "The punishment of death as chosen by a jury of Welch's peers is reserved for the most heinous crimes. My thoughts are with Robert Hardcastle's family and what they have endured for the past 17 years."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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