February 20, 2016
Kelly Cochran (33) kills her husband Jason (37) with a lethal heroin injection and by smothering him
On February 20, Kelly called 911 to request an ambulance. “I don’t know what’s wrong,” she told the dispatcher. “He’s throwing up. He’s sweating. I need an ambulance right away.” Medics reported Kelly was “disruptive” as they attempted to revive Jason, and would not leave the room despite repeated instructions to do so by the medical staff. Jason’s death was later ruled to have been a homicide caused by “asphyxia by strangulation, complicated by heroin intoxication.”
Jason’s death was the impetus for a cold case to be reopened. Christopher Regan (53) had gone missing in 2014, and the Cochrans had been suspects in his disappearance after it was revealed Kelly had been having an affair with him. Authorities attempted to arrest Kelly in Indiana but she had fled the state on April 26, 2016, without informing her friends or family. US Marshals tracked her to Wingo, Kentucky where she was apprehended.
Kelly admitted to officials on April 29 that she had killed her husband, stating she had injected Jason with a lethal dose of heroin before she placed her hands over his neck, mouth, and nose. According to Kelly, she killed her husband in “revenge” for the murder of Regan. Kelly claimed she and Jason had lured Regan to their Caspian, Michigan home on October 14, 2014. There, Jason shot Regan in the head with a .22 caliber rifle. He then dismembered Regan’s body, the pieces were wrapped in garbage bags, and the body parts were discarded in the woods two days after the murder.
To prove her claims, Kelly directed officials to the location of the dismantled murder weapon in May of 2016. Authorities also found human remains — including a human skull with what appeared to be a bullet hole — in the area.
Kelly explained to authorities that she and Jason had established a “pact” on their wedding night, agreeing to “kill off anyone involved in their extramarital affairs.” Kelly stated she did not take the pact seriously at the time, believing it to be “a joke.” While she gave several different versions of events on the night of Regan’s murder, Kelly testified at trial that Jason alone had killed Regan and any involvement on her part was out of fear of her husband. She further testified she had killed Jason because he took “the only good thing in my life” when he killed Regan, and she had “evened the score” with Jason’s murder.
Kelly was convicted of Regan’s murder in May of 2017 and received a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. She pleaded guilty to Jason’s murder in April of 2018, receiving a 65 year sentence.
Shortly after Regan’s disappearance, the Cochrans served hamburgers at a local barbecue. One neighbor remembered eating a “strange-tasting burger” at the event, with the speculation Regan’s remains may have been mixed in with the beef. At this time, this allegation is conjecture with no physical proof or confession on Kelly’s part.
In addition to speculations of cannibalism, Kelly has been accused of serial murder. “I do not think that Chris is the first person that they murdered,” stated the woman Regan had been dating at the time of his murder. “There’s just no way that the first person you choose to kill, you’re going to be able to clean up the blood and get rid of a body so that FBI agents can’t pull DNA off the walls. … To do what they did to him? I don’t know how you could do that if it was the first person you’ve ever murdered. Shooting someone, that’s one thing. … You can be far away, pull out your gun and it’s done. But to sit there, cut up a body and to then wrap his parts, put it in your vehicle and haul it over to the woods and bury it? There’s no possible way you could logically think through all of that. … I truly believe there are other [victims] out there.” In addition, Kelly’s family has told investigators they believe as many as 9 victims were killed by the Cochrans through the Midwest.
Kelly herself has claimed to be a serial killer, and listed “friends” who have been buried in various locations in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Tennessee. She also claimed to have what she and her husband referred to as a “trophy bag” or “trinket bag” which contained items related to the killings they had committed. No such bag has been found, and no bodies have been recovered from the areas Kelly has listed. Officer Jeremy Ogden of the Hobart Police Department testified he believed the list of victims provided by Kelly were “leading us on a wild goose chase in order to divert attention from” the Regan investigation.
Part of Kelly’s plea agreement for Jason’s murder included the condition that she cannot be prosecuted for additional murders in Indiana. Should she confess to victims killed in the state, and provide locations to their bodies, she will not face additional charges.
Cochran, Kelly. Offender Number: 356714. Michigan Department of Corrections. Accessed: February 20, 2021. https://mdocweb.state.mi.us/OTIS2/otis2.aspx
State of Michigan Court of Appeals. PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. KELLY MARIE COCHRAN, Defendant-Appellant. UNPUBLISHED June 11, 2019. No. 338951. Iron Circuit Court. LC No. 16-009635-FH. Archived: https://law.justia.com/cases/michigan/court-of-appeals-unpublished/2019/338951.html
Hunter, Brad. “Killer Kelly Cochran served victims as burgers?” Toronto Sun. June 21, 2018. Accessed: February 20, 2021. https://torontosun.com/news/world/killer-kelly-cochran-served-victim-as-burgers
“Alleged serial killer tied to Michigan may have killed 9, served lover’s remains at BBQ.” Fox 2 Detroit. June 19, 2018. Accessed: February 20, 2021. https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/alleged-serial-killer-tied-to-michigan-may-have-killed-9-served-lovers-remains-at-bbq
Jacobs, Becky. “Hobart woman serving life sentence for boyfriend’s death gets 65 years for husband’s murder.” Chicago Tribune. May 16, 2018. Accessed: February 20, 2021. https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/ct-ptb-kelly-cochran-sentencing-st-0517-story.html
Mack, Justin L. “Suspected Indiana serial killer, possible cannibalism focus of true crime doc.” IndyStar. May 9, 2018. Accessed: February 20, 2021. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2018/05/09/suspected-indiana-serial-killer-possible-cannibalism-focus-new-doc/593906002/
Garrison, Steve. “Woman convicted of murder in Michigan charged with killing husband in Hobart.” The Times [Munster, Indiana]. February 23, 2018
Krause, Ruth Ann. “Charges for wife in man’s death.” Post-Tribune [Chicago, Illinois]. August 13, 2016
“Woman faces charges in 2014 disappearance of Mich. man.” Livingston Daily Press & Argus. May 13, 2016