IRON COUNTY – Kelly Cochran has been found guilty on all five counts in the death of Christopher Regan.
Premeditated murder carries the heaviest sentence of her five charges, with a punishment up to life in jail.
Tune in to Local 3 News at 6 for the latest.
Original story below
Defense attorney Michael Scholke addressed the inconsistencies in his client’s testimony this afternoon as part of his closing statements in the murder trial of Kelly Cochran in Iron County. She is charged in connection to the death of her boyfriend 53-year-old Christopher Regan of Iron River. He had been reported missing in October of 2014
Cochran faces a life sentence for the charge of homicide-open murder; up to a 10-year sentence on charges of conspiracy to commit dead bodies-dismemberment and mutilation; five years for concealing the death of an individual; five-years for accessory after the fact to a felony four-years for larceny in a building; and four years for lying to a peace officer-violent crime investigation.
Scholke admitted that Cochran had lied – repeatedly during the investigation and on the witness stand. “A liar is a liar,” he told the jury.
Scholke told the jury to look at Cochran with great scrutiny, but to also consider the evidence presented in the case. He conceded that this is an odd story…a puzzle. He said Kelly has told three versions of the story of how Chris Regan died. He cast doubt on whether the body of Chris Regan could have been dismembered in the basement of the Cochran home and put into 15 trash bags since police dogs did not pick up the scent of a deceased individual.
He detailed the finding of part of a gun in the Caspian Pit, a burn barrel that may or may not have been used to destroy evidence, phone conversations and text messages between Kelly and Jason the day before Regan’s death, saying these issues carry some doubt. Phone records – including calls and text messages – the defense attorney said, cannot identify who was using the phone at the time, although those records can identify where a phone was from the ‘pinging’ off a cell tower.
Scholke continued, saying doubt can be cast on whether Regan was even shot in Iron County. He repeatedly called Kelly a liar, saying she lied many times. He reminded the jury that he didn’t have to prove anything…proof was the responsibility of the prosecution.
Cochran’s attorney contended that the state has shown evidence that Regan was shot in the back of the head and that his skull was found in the woods. He said numerous versions of what happened were told by Kelly Cochran but none were proven. “We are no closer to answering the question of what happened to Chris Regan than when he went missing,” Schokle said.
In his last statement, the defense attorney advised the jury to not look for a wild story saying, “Don’t go looking for something that’s rare….you should not be searching for wild scenarios.” He continued, tell the jury panel that, “There is reasonable doubt here. We only have Kelly’s word on what happened to Chris. Kelly is a liar….the people have failed to meet their burden.”
In a short rebuttal from Iron County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Powell, she read off a list of items as to why the defendant should be found guilty. Among them, that Cochran admitted various elements of the crime when she was in police custody – at a time when she would not have been under the influence of drugs and that ‘something urged (Kelly) to talk’ about the crime.
Powell ended by saying the jury should ‘flip the puzzle on its side,” continuing that puzzle pieces dumped out can be put together in such a way to make it make sense…to make those puzzle pieces into a picture that slowly develops. “What we have here is a puzzle of Kelly and Jason killing Chris Regan,” she said.
Judge Richard Celello began giving the jury instructions a few minutes before noon Central Time and dismissed the 12 jurors and two alternates just before 12:45 PM.
Celello reminded the jury that, “Reasonable doubt is a doubt that is reasonable” considering the information presented in the case.
The judge continued to describe what is and is not evidence in the case, and detailed to the jury that a person who assists in a crime is as guilty as the person committing the crime. A verdict in a criminal case must be unanimous. Celello warned that each juror must make a decision individually and as a group.
Local 3’s Mollie Hollebeke is in the Crystal Falls courtroom and will have an update on the closing statements, jury instructions and more tonight on Local 3 News at 6/5 central. Stay tuned to Local 3 News and follow WJMN on Facebook and Twitter for more on this developing story.