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10/20/2013 3:40:00 PM
Death penalty on the table for Kingman prison escapee
Jurors to weigh penalty for couple's murder
John McCluskey
John McCluskey

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The penalty phase opens Monday in the capital murder trial of John McCluskey, who faces a possible death sentence for the killings of a retired Oklahoma couple following a 2010 Arizona prison break.

Jurors who convicted McCluskey earlier this month after a four-month trial come back for what could be an even longer round of testimony on whether he should be executed or sentenced life in prison.

Much of the testimony is expected to focus on McCluskey's psychological state. Family members of the victims say they also will be called to push for the death sentence.

McCluskey, 48, was convicted Oct. 7 of murder, carjacking and other charges in the August 2010 deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla.

They were making their annual summer trek to Colorado when they crossed paths with McCluskey and two other fugitives seeking a better vehicle for their getaway.

McCluskey was serving 15 years for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm when he and two other prisoners escaped from a medium-security prison near Kingman, Ariz., in July 2010 with the help of his cousin and fiancee, Casslyn Welch.

One of the inmates was quickly captured after a shootout with authorities in Colorado, while McCluskey, Welch and inmate Tracy Province headed to New Mexico. Their escape and ensuing crimes sparked a nationwide manhunt and an Interpol alert.

Province and Welch pleaded guilty last year to charges of carjacking resulting in death, conspiracy, the use of a firearm during a violent crime and other charges.

They both fingered McCluskey as the triggerman.

The victims, who were high school sweethearts and recent retirees from General Motors, were making their 11th summer trip to Colorado when they were killed three days after the prison break.

Related Stories:
• Jury continues deliberations in death penalty case
• Kingman prison escapee found guilty of murder
• Witnesses won't waver in murder trial for Kingman prison escapee
• Opening arguments start in McCluskey escape, kidnap trial


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Article comment by: Please get it right

For the Love of God....Give this (delete) the death penalty. The only closure the family needs is that this man no longer lives.

Posted: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Article comment by: gun owner 000

Actually, the death penalty for John McCluskey would be far too merciful.

I'm in favor of locking him up in an 8 X 10 cell for the rest of his life, with a bucket of slop for his morning, noon, and night meals. No exercise time, no visitors. With any luck, he will administer the death penalty himself.





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