Jurors deliberating fate of Ariz. inmate

October 8, 2013 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — An Albuquerque jury was back in federal court Monday to decide the fate of an Arizona prisoner accused of carjacking and killing an Oklahoma couple while on the lam.

The panel entered its second day of deliberations in the capital murder case [auth] against John McCluskey in the August 2010 deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla.

The retired couple was abducted from a highway rest stop in New Mexico after McCluskey and two other inmates escaped from a prison near Kingman, Ariz. The couple’s charred remains were found in their burned-out trailer on a remote ranch in eastern New Mexico.

Prosecutors called dozens of witnesses over four weeks, including McCluskey’s cousin and girlfriend, Casslyn Welch, and his former prison bunkmate, Tracy Province. Both alleged McCluskey was the triggerman.

Defense attorneys called no witnesses of their own but tried to discredit the two by saying they cooperated with prosecutors to avoid a possible death sentence themselves. Welch and Province pleaded guilty last year and face life sentences.

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