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6/4/2014 6:00:00 AM
Life, and then some, for McCluskey
Kingman escapee who killed two in N.M. has 235 years tacked on sentence
John McCluskey
John McCluskey
Casslyn Welch
Casslyn Welch
Welch, Province also sentenced
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Two people convicted in an Arizona prison break and a double homicide in New Mexico have been sentenced to prison.

Federal prosecutors say 46-year-old Tracy Allen Province was sentenced Monday to five consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of release.

They say Casslyn Mae Welch got a 40-year prison sentence.

Province and the 47-year-old Welch were accused of participating in the plot to carjack and kill a retired Oklahoma couple.

Arizona prison escapee John McCluskey was convicted of kidnapping and murdering 61-year-old Gary and Linda Haas in August 2010. He's scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

Welch is McCluskey's cousin and girlfriend. She pleaded guilty to helping McCluskey and Province escape from a prison near Kingman in July 2010.

Province and Welch testified for the prosecution in McCluskey's trial.

Daniel Kelly Renwick, 40, a third inmate who escaped that night, was captured two days later in Rifle, Colo., following a shootout with law enforcement officers.

He was subsequently sentenced to a total of 60 years in prison in Colorado for firing a weapon at officers. At the time of the escape in late July 2010, Renwick was serving a 22-year sentence for second-degree murder.

The Kingman Daily Miner's Doug McMurdo contributed to this report.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An Arizona inmate convicted of kidnapping and murdering a retired Oklahoma couple in New Mexico after he escaped from prison was sentenced Tuesday to life behind bars without the chance of parole.

U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera officially handed down the sentence to John McCluskey, who also received a consecutive term of 235 years. The 49-year-old declined to read a statement at his sentencing.

McCluskey was convicted in October of 20 counts of aggravated murder, carjacking and other charges for the August 2010 slayings of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Oklahoma.

But jurors deliberating the sentencing for McCluskey failed to reach a unanimous verdict, deciding they couldn't agree on the death penalty. That earned McCluskey an automatic life sentence, which wasn't made official until Tuesday.

"With the help of his conspirators, John Charles McCluskey mercilessly killed two innocent victims and burned their bodies as he fled law enforcement after escaping from prison," Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said. "Our thoughts are with those whose lives were changed forever by these heinous crimes."

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 in July 2010 with the help of McCluskey's cousin and fiancee, Casslyn Welch.

The victims, high school sweethearts and recent retirees, were making their 11th summer trip to Colorado when they were kidnapped and killed for their truck and travel trailer, authorities said.

The defense argued that McCluskey had a low IQ and has suffered a hard life of abuse, brain damage and addiction. Prosecutors called him a remorseless, cold-blooded killer.

Province and Welch pleaded guilty to carjacking resulting in death, conspiracy, use of a firearm during a violent crime and other charges. They both fingered McCluskey as the triggerman.

Earlier this week, Province, 46, was sentenced to five consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Welch was sentenced to 40 years.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014
Article comment by: never will get tough

Hey. Do you want to live in a safe building, 3 meals and a warm cot for the rest of your life...Commit Murder.

We will feed you, cloth you, and give you plenty of knuckleheads to tell your sick story to. All of which are wanting to have their version be the one that sells to the Movie Industry. Oh and lets not forget the hoards of psychologist and students that will provide you with years of attention.

Just ridiculous....for 10 cents and a shovel this could have gone away.

Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Article comment by: Miss-represented Facts in Original Filings - Grounds to Shut This Place Down

The sad and unnecessary tragedy that befell the Oklahoma couple is a direct result of the privatization of prisons.

This prison management company lied to us and our leaders from day one. It was touted as a minimum security prison. You know it would just hold those accused of crimes like DUI, and drug violations. Before we knew it it had an overflow of dangerous murders. Our representatives should have done everything possible at that time to shut this place down. But the state must have told their good little Republicans up here that the state had to have the jail and probably even offered our local Republicans a deal they couldn't refuse so any chance that our local representatives would sue the state corrections department and/or the private operators of this fiasco was quickly eliminated.

I hear the joint is no better now than when the big breakout occurred. Well no that isn't true. Today the prisoners have made nice little decorative socks that fit over those rocks. Now they can prop those doors open in style.

Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Article comment by: Beth Snook

I'm sorry people. What the heck is wrong with society's jurors that they can't come up with a death penalty verdict? He escaped from prison! He killed and kidnapped 2 people! Why should we be paying for this killer to sit in prison for the rest of his life? I guess they will never put me on a killers jury. Why is this so hard for a jury to give a killer a death sentence? You are granting him life, when he took 2. The people he killed can no longer enjoy life so why should a killer?

Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Article comment by: D L

Thank God Judge Williams or Judge Conn didn't preside over this case, otherwise McCluskey would've gotten a plea deal and a sentence of 10 years!
And the fact that the jurors couldn't unanimously decide whether or not this utter waste of air and resources should get the death penalty speaks volumes as to how the jury selection process feeds from the bottom of the IQ pool!

Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Article comment by: desert dweller

Execute this scum! Why on earth should taxpayers have to pay to feed and house these vermin for years and years? HANG THEM! Its more civilized that what they did to that poor couple!!

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