The Norman Transcript

State/Region

November 4, 2013

NM jury to decide if death penalty is an option

(Continued)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —

“You have to wonder had John been able to finish at the racetrack would we be sitting here today?” she asked.

Prosecutors on Thursday called to the witness stand Johns Hopkins neurologist Barry Gordon, to dispute the defense’s experts. He told jurors he had interviewed McCluskey, conducted an exam and reviewed the convict’s brain imaging scans and health history and concluded McCluskey does have the capacity to control himself.

McCluskey was serving 15 years for attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm when he and two other prisoners escaped from a medium-security prison near Kingman, Ariz., in July 2010 with the help of his cousin and fiancee, Casslyn Welch.

One inmate was quickly captured after a shootout with authorities in Colorado, while McCluskey, Welch and inmate Tracy Province headed to New Mexico.

Testimony showed the trio, hot and cramped from three days in a small car without air conditioning, targeted the Haases at a rest stop near the New Mexico-Texas state line for their truck and travel trailer.

Province and Welch pleaded guilty last year to charges of carjacking resulting in death, conspiracy, the use of a firearm during a violent crime and other charges. They both said McCluskey was the triggerman.

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