Home / 10-Year Unsolved Crime Leads to Death: Frank Welch Story

10-Year Unsolved Crime Leads to Death: Frank Welch Story

A nude dead corpse that was Joe Talley Cooper was found by her husband in their living room in their Norman residence home just after 1 pm on the afternoon of February 25, 1987. 

Joe Talley Cooper was only four months pregnant at the time of her murder. Cooper was bound with many leather straps along with duct tape. 

The cause of Cooper’s death was strangulation. Upon discovery of Cooper’s body, the medical examiner would also find a plastic child’s toy shoved up in her vagina. The medical examiner also noted that there were tears not only in her vagina, but in her rectum as well. 

Frank Duane Welch would enter the Coopers Norman residence pretending to be a cable television repairman, who just lost his job the day prior. 

However, the case of who murdered Joe Talley Cooper would not be solved for 10 years. It would ultimately be turned into a cold case. 

However, a decade after Joe Talley Cooper was murdered, Welch’s DNA was finally a matched to a crime of another 10-year-old murder case of Debra Stevens, who was also found nude in her family’s residence right outside of Tuttle, just three months after Joe Talley Cooper was murdered. 

It was not until 1997, when Welch was currently sitting in a prison for assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder, along with kidding, where his DNA was finally linked to the deaths of Joe Talley Cooper and Debra Stevens. 

Final/Special Meal

Frank Duane Welch final meal he requested was a simple meal. All Frank Welch truly wanted as a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola and a Large super supreme pizza all to himself. 

Frank Welch would polish off his meal, prior to being taken down to the execution chamber. 

Final Words

Unlike many of the inmates about to be executed, Frank Welch had a few things to say to the witnesses on the other side of the glass partition. 

Frank Welch stated this, and I quote: 

“There’s nothing that can change the horrible thing I’ve done. I’m truly, truly sorry for all the hurt and pain I’ve caused you. There’s no excuse for it — there never was. It was just me. “I love y’all. God bless y’all. I’m ready.”

Welch Execution

Frank Welch was a career criminal by the time he received the death penalty. Welch through his career as a criminal would be charged and convicted of killing and raping a young mother nearly 20 years ago at the time he was executed. 

On Welch’s execution date, he would be pronounced dead just a few minutes after the prison officials started administering the lethal mixture of drugs to him. Officially, Welch was dead at 6:21 pm at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. 

The reason behind Frank Welch’s execution was of his killing of Joe Talley Cooper, who was 28 and four months pregnant at the time of her death. Coopers case was not solved for nearly a decade. 

It took investigators a decade for them to finally link Welch’s DNA to the Joe Talley Cooper case, but also was able to link Welch’s DNA to the Debra Stevens case, which happened nearly 3 months after Joe Talley Cooper’s case. 

As the prison officials started administering the lethal drugs into Welch’s arm, one of Welch’s brothers who was also in the viewing room started having breathing problems and collapsed immediately after. Prison medical staff attended to Welch’s brother immediately, but the brother declined the need for an ambulance. 

However, the last appeal that Welch would have put in was on August 1 to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board who ultimately rejected his appeal for clemency. 

About two dozen people all from the Stevens’ and Cooper’s families would be sitting in the witness viewing room for Welch’s execution. All family members were reminiscing about their loved ones prior to their murders. They were all glad that this long legal battle was now over and that they can slowly start to move on from this horrible, horrible situation.