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Execution brings closure

By Sean Murphy Modified: August 22, 2007 at 12:02 am •  Published: August 22, 2007
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Career criminal Frank Duane Welch was executed Tuesday for the rape and death of a young mother.

The death of Jo Talley Cooper, 28, a Mississippi native who earned a master's degree in communication at the University of Oklahoma, went unsolved for nearly a decade.

Welch, 46, was serving time in prison for a kidnapping charge in 1997 when he was linked by DNA to the killings of Cooper and Grady County resident Debra Stevens, whose nude body was discovered in her family's home outside Tuttle less than three months after Cooper's death.

No appeals were pending and the lethal injection was scheduled for 6 p.m.

Cooper, who was three months pregnant at the time of her death, was tied up, raped and strangled while her infant son slept in the next room.

Prosecutors believe Welch, who worked as a cable repairman in Norman for a short time in 1987, used his old uniform to get inside the women's homes.

‘No getting over it'
Cooper's family planned to witness Welch's execution.

"Closure is sort of a cliche, but there is a finality in the sense that the legal system is done and the dragging it out is over with,” said Jeb Anderson, Cooper's younger brother, who lives in Franklin, Tenn. Oklahoma Death Row

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