Jury fails to reach McCluskey verdict, judge to sentence him - WNEM TV 5

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Jury fails to reach McCluskey verdict, judge to sentence him to life

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John McCluskey John McCluskey
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (CBS5/AP) -

Jurors have told a judge they have failed to reach a unanimous decision on the punishment for an Arizona inmate who kidnapped and murdered a retired Oklahoma couple.

That means the judge will sentence John McCluskey to life in prison for murdering a retired Oklahoma couple during a multistate crime spree that followed a 2010 prison break. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

It ends a four-month trial. McCluskey shot and killed Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, OK., as they passed through New Mexico while on vacation.

McCluskey was convicted in October of murder and numerous other charges. On Nov. 5, the jury found him eligible for the death penalty following a three-week proceeding.

Much of the sentencing phase focused on whether he was capable of controlling his impulses and making reasoned decisions when he kidnapped and killed the couple.

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

on July 30, 2010, McCluskey and co-defendant Tracy Allen Province, 46, escaped from an Arizona state prison with the aid of co-defendant Casslyn Mae Welch, 47.

On Aug. 2, 2010, McCluskey, Province and Welch carjacked the couple and their pickup truck and camping trailer at a rest stop off Interstate 40 in Quay County, prosecutors said. 

McCluskey shot and killed Gary and Linda Haas in the trailer in a remote location east of Tucumcari, NM, prosecutors said. 

McCluskey, Province and Welch then drove the Haases' truck and trailer to a remote area in Guadalupe County, NM., where they unhitched, burned and abandoned the trailer with the Haases' remains still inside, prosecutors said. 

On Aug. 4, 2010, the New Mexico State Police discovered the victim's burned remains in the trailer. Province was arrested in Wyoming on Aug. 9, 2010, and McCluskey and Welch were apprehended in Arizona on Aug. 19, 2010, following a nationwide, multi-agency manhunt.

Evidence at the trial also established that McCluskey has the following prior convictions:

  • In 1993 in Pennsylvania for aggravated assault with a firearm and three armed robberies for which he served 15 years in state custody.
  • In 2009 in Arizona for attempted second degree murder and aggravated assault with a firearm, for which he received a 15-year state prison sentence in Arizona.
  • In 2011 in Arizona for escape, kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and felon in possession of a firearm, for which he received a 43-year prison sentence to run consecutive to his 15-year sentence.

On Jan. 20, 2012, Province and Welch each entered a guilty plea to numerous crimes stemming from the carjacking and the couple's murder. Both testified during the guilt phase of McCluskey's trial.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Province will be sentenced to five consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of release. Welch faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment under her plea agreement.

Both remain in custody pending their sentencing hearings, which have yet to be scheduled.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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