Kelly Marie Cochran, 34, stands accused of helping her husband kill and dismember her boyfriend. She is also charged with killing her husband to “even the score” – and the prosecuting attorney thinks her body count may not stop there.
According to reports, on October 13, 2014, Cochran and her husband, 37-year-old Jason Cochran, came up with a diabolical plan: the next night, Cochran would lure 53-year-old Christopher Regan, Kelly’s coworker and boyfriend, to her home with the promise of sex and Jason would kill him. The plan worked, and when Jason “caught” Regan with his wife, he shot him in the head with a .22 caliber long-barrel shotgun.
The Cochrans then set about dismembering Regan’s body – Kelly later admitted to getting a cord for an electric hand saw, known colloquially as a “sawzall”, so Jason Cochran could cut up his corpse. They then divided Regan’s body between garbage bags, and threw the bags into the woods around the Iron River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Regan was reported missing a few days later, and his car was found abandoned at a park-and-ride lot four miles east of Iron River, Michigan. According to the local Daily News, police honed in on Cochran because she was one of the last people to see Regan. When police searched her home with the FBI in March, 2015, they found nothing – but Cochran was spooked and she and her husband packed up and moved to Lake County, Indiana.
Police continued their investigation with Kelly listed a person of interest, but a year passed and still they had nothing. Then, in February 2016, Jason died of an apparent heroin overdose. Kelly held a memorial service, writing on Facebook that his death was “the hardest thing I will ever have to deal with.” But police weren’t buying it. Nine weeks after Jason died, Michigan authorities charged Kelly Cochran with Regan’s death – and she fled Indiana. The U.S. Marshals Service eventually tracked her down in Kentucky, where she was arrested on April 28th and taken into custody. According to court documents, she spent her time in her jail cell turning her glasses into shanks and threatening violence against anyone who came near her. She was extradited to Michigan where she is now in custody awaiting trial.
Following her arrest, Cochran was interrogated by both Michigan and Indiana police for almost 70 hours. According to the northwest Indiana Post-Tribune, she was able to direct investigators to a desolate stretch of Michigan woods where they discovered evidence of Cochran’s alleged crimes, including a human skull with an apparent bullet hole, bones and bone fragments. Police also recovered a .22 caliber rifle, a .22 caliber bullet, and a pair of glasses at the scene.
While Cochran was in custody, police also questioned her about the death of her husband. They had grown suspicious when Cochran’s version of what happened the night that Jason Cochran died kept changing. Paramedics had been called to the house that Cochran shared with her husband in February, but the EMTs found Jason unresponsive and were unable to revive him. At first glance it looked like he had died of a heroin overdose, but the Indiana Lake County Coroner discovered that Jason had actually died from asphyxiation, not heroin. That’s when suspicion turned to his wife, who had been “disruptive” while EMT were working on her husband’s body.
The Post-Tribune reports Cochran told police that she delivered an overdose of heroin to her husband and proceeded to put her hands on his neck, nose, and mouth, until he died less than a minute later.
In an interview with detectives in Hobart, Indiana, Cochran finally gave police a motive for her brutal crimes –her decade-plus marriage needed saving. According to the Post-Tribune, Cochran told police that the night before the murder, she and her husband had argued – perhaps about Regan – and her husband wanted to know how “she was going to fix things.” The answer they stumbled on, apparently, was to kill Regan. In interviews, Cochran said she blamed her husband for Regan’s death and for “taking the only good thing I had in my life.” The Post-Tribune notes that in court records Cochran said, “I still hate him (her husband), and yes, it was revenge. I evened the score.” There was a brief moment before Regan’s death, she had reportedly considered killing her husband instead of her boyfriend. Instead she ended up killing them both, waiting 16 months to exact her revenge on her husband.
In Indiana, Cochran has been charged with the death of her husband; in Michigan, she faces charges related to Regan’s death, including homicide, assisting her husband to “mutilate, deface, remove or carry away a portion of a dead body” and concealing the death of an individual. Cochran pleaded not guilty to all the charges. While she initially claimed that she wanted to defend herself, she eventually relented and asked for assistance from a public defender.
While Cochran is charged with two murders, Iron County prosecuting attorney Melissa Powell thinks there may be more bodies buried in Cochran’s past. According to her court filings, Cochran has “claimed responsibility for the deaths of other individuals, which, if true, make her a serial killer.”
While it’s unclear what other deaths Cochran may be talking about, Powell appears to be taking the statements seriously enough to question Cochran’s mental health – before Powell can launch an investigation into Cochran’s claims, she has to prove that Cochran is competent. Iron County District Court Judge C. Joseph Schwedler agreed and has ordered a forensic examination of Cochran to determine both mental competency and criminal responsibility.
According to Powell’s filings, Cochran has a long history of mental illness, including a voluntary admission to a psychiatric hospital in Indiana and suicidal ideation. Cochran has “written her family goodbye letters and has threatened to commit suicide while incarcerated as well as threatened bodily harm against any persons whom she may have contact with while incarcerated.”
Until the forensic examination can determine her competency, which the judge has asked to expedite, Cochran remains in the Iron County Jail on a $5 million cash bond.
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