Fugitive sentenced to life in prison after convicted of murdering Tecumseh couple

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – An Arizona inmate who was convicted of murdering an Oklahoma couple after escaping from prison will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Earlier this year, 48-year-old John McCluskey was convicted of murdering Gary and Linda Haas.

McCluskey, Tracy Province and another inmate escaped from a medium-security prison in July of 2010, with the help of McCluskey’s cousin and fiancée, Casslyn Welch.

The Haas’ were traveling to New Mexico on vacation when they encountered McCluskey, Province and  Welch.

Linda & Gary Haas

Linda & Gary Haas

Authorities say the escapees forced their way into the Haas’ trailer and ordered the couple to drive on I-40.

McCluskey was convicted of shooting the couple to death before driving the trailer to a remote location and setting it on fire.

After the murders, the fugitives led authorities on a manhunt that spanned three weeks.

After the first-degree murder convictions, the jury was forced to decide McCluskey’s punishment.

On Wednesday, the jury announced that they could not come to a unanimous decision on whether McCluskey should be put to death at the sentencing hearing.

McCluskey was sentenced to life in prison.

Province and Welch each entered a guilty plea to numerous crimes arising out of the carjacking and murder.

Both also testified against McCluskey.