Jury convicts Arizona inmate for killing Oklahoma couple

(Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)
(Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)
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Updated: 10/07/2013 8:16 pm
(ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO) A jury in New Mexico has found inmate John McCluskey guilty of killing a vacationing Oklahoma couple in 2010.

KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports McCluskey, 48, was convicted today of all 20 charges he faced, including the premeditated murder of Gary and Linda Haas.

In 2010, McCluskey, along with accomplice Tracy Province, 45, escaped from a medium security prison near Kingman, Arizona. McCluskey's girlfriend Casslyn Welch aided their escape. After three days on the run, the trio encountered the Haas's at a rest area. The retired couple were driving from Oklahoma to Colorado for an annual camping trip, a travel trailer hitched to the back of their truck.

During the trial, Welch, 47, told the jury McCluskey and Province ambushed the couple at gunpoint, demanding them into the trailer. McCluskey instructed Welch to search for weapons in the vehicle. Gary Haas denied carrying any guns, but three were found in a cabinet in the trailer. Moments later, Welch said she heard two shots, followed by McCluskey asking Province to help move the bodies. Welch said she didn't know if Haas's lie is what caused McCluskey to shoot the couple, but she admitted she had seen him react violently over less.

Police said after the husband and wife were killed, the trailer was driven to Santa Rosa, New Mexico with the couple inside. It was then unhitched, set on fire and abandoned. The trailer was discovered on August 4, 2010.

McCluskey and Welch were arrested August 19 after drawing suspicion from a forest service ranger in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. The ranger alerted authorities who then identified the truck the fugitives were driving as belonging to the Haas's.

Province had been captured August 9.

Welch and Province have already pleaded guilty for their respective roles in the Haas's death and are awaiting sentencing.

The sentencing phase for McCluskey will begin October 15.


Information from KOAT-TV

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