Trial nears for fugitive accused of killing local couple

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Linda & Gary Haas

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Jury selection began in the case against a man who is accused of killing a Tecumesh couple traveling through New Mexico.

John McCluskey is facing federal carjacking charges and two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas.

McCluskey was one of three prisoners who escaped from a medium-security prison in Arizona with the help of his cousin and fiancée, Casslyn Welch, in July of 2010.

After escaping McCluskey, Tracy Province and Welch spotted the couple near the New Mexico-Texas state line.

Authorities say the trio forced their way into the Haases’ truck and ordered the couple to drive on I-40.

McCluskey is accused of shooting the couple to death before driving the trailer to a remote location and setting it on fire.
After the crime, the fugitives led authorities on a manhunt that spanned three weeks.

Province and Welch pleaded guilty to charges associated with the Haases’ deaths and both are facing life sentences.

While in custody, McCluskey admitted to killing the couple.

However, his attorneys may try to prove that McCluskey has a mental disorder, which could spare him from the death penalty.

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