Jason Cochran, 37, and his new wife Kelly, 34, made a vow on their wedding night. But unlike the usual vows of ‘until death do us part’ or ‘for richer, for poorer’, this was a perverse pact that started their married life with a macabre tone and, ultimately, defined both their fates.
Jason and Kelly promised each other that if either one of them was unfaithful during their marriage, they would kill the lover. Did they believe they’d go through with their horrific promise at the time? Only Jason and Kelly know that for sure – and one of them ended up dead.
In 2014, over a decade into their married life, the couple were living in Iron River, Michigan. Jason was struggling with health issues and their marriage was in crisis. Kelly was sleeping with a local contractor called Chris Regan, 53, who she’d met through work.
The divorced dad-of-two would invite Kelly over to his apartment for sex – and rumour of their affair was spreading around the small community. Chris had just got a new job in North Carolina and was ready to move away, but Jason found out his wife was being unfaithful and ‘the wedding pact’ kicked in.
Jason reminded his wife that they’d agreed to kill off anyone involved in their extra marital affairs and, in Jason’s eyes, that
was the only way they could fix their marriage. Bizarrely, Kelly agreed.
Together, they came up with a plan. The next night, on 14 October 2014, Kelly lured her lover to her house with the promise of dinner and sex. When Jason came home
and ‘discovered’ the pair together, he shot Chris in the head with a .22 calibre shotgun.
Kelly and Jason dismembered their victim’s body with an electric hand saw. A neighbour heard strange noises in the night, but when they later questioned it, Jason said he couldn’t sleep and had started some work on their staircase.
In reality, the couple had chopped up Chris’ body, divided the parts between rubbish bags and scattered them around local woods. Then they abandoned Chris’ car at a Park-And-Ride.
Soon afterwards, the couple held a barbecue for their neighbours. They served meat that the guests struggled to identify, but they politely ate it. They’d be reminded of that
meal again one day.
Got away with murder
When Chris was reported missing a few days later, police found no trace of him apart from his abandoned car. Inside was a piece of paper with the directions to Kelly’s house. Investigators quickly discovered they were having an affair and determined Kelly was one of the last people to see him alive. They searched Jason and Kelly’s home straight away, but found nothing.
Kelly admitted the affair when questioned, but said she and Jason had an open relationship and he didn’t mind. Jason also flatly denied playing any part in Chris’s disappearance. With no body or evidence of foul play, no charges could be brought against the pair.
Kelly and Jason knew they were under suspicion and moved away to Lake County, Indiana. Kelly was down on records as a ‘person of interest’, but over a year went by and no one came knocking at their door.
It was a chance to start a new life and they’d literally got away with murder, but their past continued to haunt them. Kelly had grown angry at Jason for killing her lover. Her feelings for Chris had run deeper than she thought. Kelly wanted to even the score and the only way was to take another life.
In February 2016, Kelly called 911 to report that Jason was ‘barely breathing’. ‘I don’t know what’s wrong,’ she cried. ‘He’s throwing up, he’s sweating.’
When paramedics arrived at the house, they found Jason unresponsive. Kelly said her husband was depressed and had overdosed on heroin, but she drew attention to herself by overacting, even restricting the first responders working on her husband by getting in their way.
At first, it was thought that Jason had died of a drug overdose and Kelly was supported as the grieving widow. She was emotional and wrote on Facebook that Jason’s death was ‘the hardest thing I will ever have to deal with’.
In fact, it wasn’t an overdose that had killed him, and police suspected the same thing. An autopsy revealed that Jason had died of asphyxiation.
Nine weeks after Jason died, Kelly was charged with murder. She fled, but was tracked down in Kentucky by the US Marshals Service and arrested. Once she was in custody, she was still an unpredictable threat. Records show that she turned her glasses into weapons and threatened violence against fellow inmates.
When questioned, Kelly’s version of events kept changing, but finally she admitted to her part in not only one murder, but two.
She confessed that she had killed Jason as pay-back for killing her lover. She said she’d given Jason an overdose of heroin, but it had taken too long, so she’d put her hands on his neck, nose and mouth until he’d died.
Kelly said she blamed Jason for ‘taking the only good thing I had in my life’, admitting that it was revenge. ‘I evened the score,’ she said. Kelly claimed she’d considering shopping him to police for killing her lover, but went through with the murder instead. Kelly then led police to the woods where Chris had been dumped. They found his skull with a bullet hole in, bone fragments and his glasses.
In Indiana she was charged with the murder of Jason, and in Michigan she was charged with assisting in Chris’ death.