Oklahoma has staged the country's first execution in 2012, putting Gary Rolan Welch to death Thursday evening for a 1994 slaying in Ottawa County. Welch, 49, repeatedly chanted, "Valhalla! Odin! Slay the beast!" until he died of lethal injection. He offered no apology and showed no remorse after he was convicted of killing Robert Dean Hardcastle in a drugs dispute. He had maintained that he killed Hardcastle in self-defense. He attempted suicide with a razor blade three weeks ago, but recovered and was deemed competent for the execution. The U.S. executed 43 inmates in 2011, 46 in 2010, and a record 98 prisoners were executed in 1999. Oklahoma executed two people in 2011, both in the first two weeks of the year.
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