Woman Killed Lover, Then Husband—And Maybe Others
Kelly Cochron, who admitted to killing her lover, was sentenced to 65 years in prison for the murder of her husband. A documentary includes startling new claims against her.
In 2014, Kelly Cochran killed and dismembered her lover’s body with her husband, Jason, as part of a twisted infidelity pact, prosecutors alleged. Less than two years later, she admitted to killing her husband, too.
On Wednesday, Kelly Cochran was sentenced to 65 years behind bars after pleading guilty last month to giving her 37-year-old husband, James, a lethal dose of heroin and suffocating him with her hands until he died, according to the Chicago Tribune. That punishment comes on top of the life sentence she’s already serving for the 2014 murder of her ex-boyfriend, Chris Regan, in Michigan.
But Chris and Jason may not be Kelly Cochran’s only victims, according to a new documentary with unverified claims that the 35-year-old could be a serial killer with as many as nine victims across the United States. Dead North, a four-part series airing on Investigation Discovery on May 28 and May 29, chronicles the grisly case, uncovering new—and rather disturbing—allegations, including a claim that the Cochrans served Regan’s remains to neighbors at a barbecue they hosted.
“I believe we ate him,” said David Saylor, adding that the meat they were served at the party didn’t taste anything like chicken or pork.
The sickening saga all began with the disappearance of Regan, a military contractor and father-of-two based in the Upper Peninsula’s Iron City, whose car was found abandoned at a Park-n-Ride in October 2014. The search for Regan quickly led investigators to the Cochrans after they heard rumors about the 53-year-old’s affair with Kelly—but it took them years to officially crack the case.
During her initial interview with authorities, Kelly Cochran admitted to the liaison, telling investigators she had an open relationship with her husband. Regan was “like a best friend,” she said in interview footage. “We’d have dinner every night.” But she insisted she had nothing to do with his disappearance.
Jason Cochran also maintained his innocence. “I think there’s no way that we could’ve had anything to do with it,” he told investigators. He started crying in his interview, telling police he was in a mental institution for “high anxiety” during the week Regan went missing.
Former Iron River Police Chief Laura Frizzo, who led the investigation, told The Daily Beast there were obvious “red flags” with the couple, and they were suspects “from the beginning.” “Just looking at Regan’s past phone usage and the handwritten notes left in his car, which led directly to Cochran,” Frizzo explained.
It didn’t take long before Kelly Cochran’s “true colors began to peek out,” the former police chief said. She “avoided certain questions” and “gave incomplete answers,” as the investigation wore on, Frizzo said.
After Iron River police searched the Cochran residence for evidence, the couple fled to their home state in Indiana, where they were tracked down by law enforcement, according to the documentary. But investigators couldn’t find any evidence directly connecting the Cochrans to Regan’s disappearance.
The case finally heated up in February 2016, when Kelly Cochran found Jason “breathing barely,” according to a recording of the 911 call. His death initially appeared to be a heroin overdose—but the Lake County Coroner’s Office eventually concluded that he died from “asphyxia due to strangulation,” according to an affidavit.
Kelly Cochran, who once again fled shortly after Jason’s death, was arrested in Kentucky, the Chicago Tribune reported. It was then that Cochran admitted to investigators that she killed her husband. She also detailed her involvement in Regan’s death, telling authorities her husband shot Regan in the back of the head with a .22 caliber rifle, and that they dismembered his body together, according to local reports and court documents. They cut up Regan’s corpse with a saw and tossed it in the woods, court filings stated.
At Kelly Cochran’s murder trial, prosecutors alleged that Regan’s dismemberment fulfilled a promise the couple made to kill the other’s lover if one of them were ever unfaithful, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“I thought it was a joke,” Cochran told investigators of the marriage pact. But prosecutors said that she loved Regan and killed her husband so she could “even the score,” the Globe Gazette reported.
“The confession was a game changer,” Frizzo said in the documentary, which shows Cochran revisiting the murder scene with investigators, showing police the location of the murder weapon at the bottom of a river, and leading them to the forest where the Cochrans buried Regan’s body parts. Kelly Cochran appeared listless during the scene, smoking a cigarette. Later, she recalled enjoying the high she got from cutting up her boyfriend’s body.
The documentary concludes with the most incendiary allegation—that Cochran could be a serial killer. Colton Gaboyan, Cochran’s brother, told investigators that his sister claimed to have nine victims in Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, and Minnesota. But Iron River Police Chief Curtis Bristol said the investigation into Cochran is closed and “what could be proved has been charged,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The case’s resolution was bittersweet for Frizzo, who was let go months after Kelly’s arrest, over what city manager David Thayer called “irreconcilable differences,” Upper Michigan Source reported. Frizzo, who now works with the government-affiliated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, is relieved that Regan’s case is closed.
“I sat there thinking about things and praying for him. Praying that he could have some peace now,” Frizzo said in the documentary.