OKLAHOMA – John McCluskey is sentenced to life in prison today for killing Oklahoma couple Gary and Linda Haas back in 2010.
If time heals all wounds Talford Perkins’ watch will have to tick forever. Not a day goes by he doesn’t mourn the loss of his big sister Linda….his second mom, babysitter and protector. Every year for his birthday she bought him a model car; until one special year.
“It was my 16th birthday and I didn’t get a model car I got a record album a 1972 grassroots record. She told me that I had grown up and I didn’t need the cars anymore,” he said while tears trickled down his face.
Talford showed the record to a jury, helping them convict the man who murdered Linda and her husband Gary Haas. He was there everyday for the lengthy trial.
“There were a lot of parts that were difficult especially the pictures of the scene, the autopsy photos and things like that,” said Talford.
The Haas’ loved being one with nature and with each other. During a yearly camping trip, they were carjacked, kidnapped then shot and killed by John McCluskey after he broke out of a New Mexico prison.
“The most difficult part was seeing him sitting there smiling, at times joking with his attorneys. It was difficult to not get really angry,” said Talford.
After deliberating four days the jury could not decide whether McCluskey should be executed or serve life in prison. A judge ultimately sentenced him to life.
Even though Talford wanted to see the killer executed, he respects the jury’s decision and hopes the pain burning inside will one day be quenched.
He credits the prosecution team in New Mexico, “Over the last three years they’ve pretty much done nothing but this case and you couldn’t ask for a better group of people. We got a murderer off the street for the rest of his life. And we can’t go back and change anything now so we just have to move on.”
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