The trial of a woman charged in connection with the 2014 murder, dismemberment, and dumping of 53-year-old Michigan resident Christopher Regan in Iron County, MI will enter its third week on Monday. At that time, the defendant is expected to continue with her testimony on the stand and face cross-examination from prosecutors.
Kelly Marie Cochran, 34, faces charges related to the death of Regan, who police have said they believe was shot and killed by Cochran’s late husband after he came home to “find” Regan with her. Police say the entire “caught in the act” thing was simply a ruse and Regan was lured to the home by Cochran where he was murdered. Cochran is accused of then helping chop up Regan’s body and dumping it in the deep woods in northern Michigan.
The trial was originally expected to last three weeks, but is now running ahead of schedule after the prosecution dropped five witnesses it had planned to call. With the prosecution resting early, the defense made the somewhat unusual move of calling the defendant, Cochran, to take the stand to testify in her own defense on Friday. It is very unusual for a defense attorney to call their client to the stand during any trial, let alone a high profile murder trial where the defendant is charged with participation in such a heinous crime.
Nonetheless, Cochran’s defense lawyer called her to the stand around mid-morning on Friday and for the first time the public got to hear directly from Cochran herself — not through a police interrogation or other videotaped remarks, but straight from Cochran herself. Keep in mind, this is a woman who 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.
For nearly two weeks, prosecutors called a number of witnesses and played several jailhouse interrogation tapes in which they tried to prove Cochran admitted to playing a role in plotting and participating in Regan’s death
Cochran, however, testified that there actually was no plan to kill Regan and everything the jurors had heard from investigators about her behavior and involvement in the murder through nearly two weeks of trial “was a lie” simply because she “felt guilty” at the time she made the statements.
She then described her version of what she remembers about Regan’s death, telling jurors they were having sex when she believes she must have heard a gunshot — but she could not specifically remember hearing the gunshot.
“I don’t know if I heard it. I know now that I had to of, but I didn’t hear it. There was a gunshot, and we fell down the stairs,” Cochran told the jurors. She then said she blacked out from the fall and by the time she came around, Regan was already dead. She then claimed her then-husband made her go upstairs and cook dinner for him and he remained in the basement with the body.
Cochran was then asked about the different stories she told investigators and she explained that she only told one of those differing versions because she was under the influence of drugs when talking with police.
She was also asked why she did not use one of her own guns to shoot her husband in order to escape, but she said the thought never crossed her her mind and she was unsure that she could have even gone through with it anyway.
Cochran was then asked to explain why she allegedly previously told a police detective that she was the one who told her former husband to wear certain items like a hat and gloves to not leave behind evidence. When confronted about these statements, she claimed the detective was essentially lying and denied any such conversation took place. She admitted to driving to dispose of the victim’s vehicle, but she claimed she was forced to drive by her former husband.
At that point, the questioning switched to the more gruesome part of the trial where Cochran testified that it was her former husband who used the use of the Sawz-All to chop up Regan’s body.
“When he cut [Regan] up, he had one of his hands, and said [it was the] last time he’d wave to me. [Regan] was waving goodbye to me,” Cochran told the shocked courtroom.
Throughout her initial testimony, Cochran maintained her defense strategy that she was forced to participate in the disposal of Regan’s body due to her fear of her former husband. She said she never ran for help because she “had seen what [her former husband] was capable of . . .” and she was afraid he would find her and kill her next.”
The trial is expected to continue on Monday where Cochran will remain on the stand to face cross-examination.
Nearly 16 months after Regan’s death, police in Indiana accused Cochran of killing her then-husband (Jason, the man police say shot Regan), and of attempting to cover up the death as though it was a heroin overdose. She faces separate charges in Indiana related to Jason’s death and while in jail she has reportedly claimed responsibility for additional deaths, though police have been unable to verify any additional claims at this time.
[image via screengrab]