Cochran pleads guilty to killing her husband

Kelly Cochran testifies during her February 2017 murder trial in Iron County. The former Caspian woman, who is serving a life sentence in Michigan in the 2014 murder of an Iron River man, has pleaded guilty to killing her husband in Indiana in 2016. (Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — A former Caspian woman serving a life sentence in Michigan for assisting her husband in the 2014 murder of Christopher Regan of Iron River now has pleaded guilty to killing her husband, Jason Cochran, in Indiana in 2016.

Online court records show 35-year-old Kelly Marie Cochran accepted a plea agreement Wednesday in Lake County, Ind., and will be sentenced May 16.

The agreement called for Kelly Cochran to plead to a murder charge, and for the prosecution to not seek the death penalty, a life sentence, or any additional charges against her, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana. The maximum sentence is 65 years in prison to be served consecutively to the Michigan sentence, the newspaper reported.

“I’m pleased to see a conviction in the Indiana murder of Jason Cochran,” Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Some may believe he is not worthy of empathy due to his role in the death of Chris Regan, but keep in mind he has a mother, father, brother, and other family members who suffered greatly after his death and the ensuing, horrific revelations that came with the investigation and prosecution of Kelly Cochran.”

Kelly Cochran admitted to investigators in April 2016 she lured the 53-year-old Regan to her Caspian home Oct. 14, 2014, so Jason Cochran could fatally shoot him with a rifle. 

Kelly Cochran and Regan were involved in an extramarital affair, and investigators believe she became upset with him when she realized he was not interested in a long-term relationship.

Powell also cited a reported murder pact between the Cochrans requiring them to kill anyone with whom they had affairs.

After killing Regan, the Cochrans dismembered his body in their basement with a reciprocating saw and hid the remains off of Pentoga Trail in Crystal Falls Township, according to Kelly Cochran’s April 2016 statement to police.

Regan was reported missing by a friend about two weeks after the murder.

The Cochrans fled to Indiana, where Kelly Cochran killed Jason Cochran on Feb. 20, 2016, by giving him an overdose of heroin and then covering his face when he began to vomit, according to Indiana court documents.

She was upset about Regan’s death and killed her husband for revenge, the documents state.

Investigators found Kelly Cochran to be more cooperative after Jason Cochran’s death, and she ultimately led them to find Regan’s skull and eyeglasses in May 2016 in a wooded area on Pentoga Trail.

But Kelly Cochran testified at her February 2017 jury trial in Iron County that she lied in her April 2016 interview because she felt guilty her affair led her husband to murder Regan. She maintained Jason Cochran acted alone in the murder and she only assisted him in concealing the death out of fear for her own life.

The jury convicted her on all five felony charges — first degree murder, conspiracy to commit disinterment and mutilation of dead bodies, concealing the death of an individual, larceny in a building and lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation — after less than three hours of deliberation.

Since she was convicted by jury, Kelly Cochran received automatic appeal rights and her case is ongoing in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Powell, in her statement, also went on to thank the multiple agencies and investigators involved in both Regan’s and Jason Cochran’s murders.

“I also want to specifically state that former Iron River Police Chief Laura Frizzo and Detective Jeremy Ogden from Indiana did an outstanding piece of investigative work to secure the conviction of Kelly Cochran in both Michigan and Indiana,” she said. “It should be noted that Ogden and Frizzo logged countless hours on this case above and beyond what is expected in a typical investigation and, but for their dogged determination and dedication to seeing justice achieved for the families involved, Kelly Cochran might still be walking the streets.”

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