The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

State/Region

September 21, 2013

N.M. murder trial wraps up

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It was a hot summer day at a rest stop on the plains of eastern New Mexico. Two Arizona fugitives and their accomplice were trying to figure out what their next move was going to be to stay ahead of the law.

What’s not clear is who first saw that truck and well-appointed travel trailer sitting in the parking lot, and who hatched the plan to target the Oklahoma couple that the rig belonged to.

Defense attorneys for John McCluskey, the convict accused of killing the couple, have spent hours hammering away at inconsistencies in the accounts of key prosecution witnesses. However, their cross-examinations have yet to make the witnesses waver from accusations that McCluskey was the triggerman.

The fourth week of testimony in McCluskey’s capital murder trial wrapped up Thursday with the questioning of accomplice Casslyn Welch. She spent days detailing the preparation for the escape from a medium security prison near Kingman, Ariz., a drug smuggling operation that financed the prison break, and the abduction and shooting deaths of Gary and Linda Haas, of Tecumseh, Okla.

The trial resumes Monday after a three-day break. Prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case with testimony from a ballistics expert and an FBI agent.

Welch, who is McCluskey’s cousin and girlfriend, was in tears before she started testifying Monday and got choked up several times while on the stand.

Under questioning by McCluskey’s lawyers, she admitted to lying under oath and not being truthful with federal investigators and prosecutors.

She said her attitude following her arrest was “deplorable” and she regretted helping with the escape and making derogatory references about the Haases during interviews with authorities.

But she did not back down on the most important detail.

“Have you ever identified anyone other than John McCluskey as the person who shot and killed Gary and Linda?” Prosecutor Greg Fouratt asked.

“No, sir,” Welch said.

After presenting a parade of forensic experts and law enforcement agents along with dozens of crime scene photos and recorded conversations, prosecutors are set to wrap up their case early next week.

McCluskey, if convicted, faces either life in prison or the death penalty.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Survivors observe 19th anniversary

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Survivors, rescue workers and the family members of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have observed the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack....

    April 20, 2014

  • State budget talks center on cuts

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With six weeks left in the 2014 session, behind-the-scenes negotiations among the House, Senate and governor’s office are ramping up on how to plug a $188 million hole in the budget and fund programs for education, public ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose measure

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature, proposed as a reaction to the case of an oral surgeon accused of maintaining filthy office conditions, that deals with training requirements for oral surgery ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose legislation

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature dealing with training requirements for oral surgery dental assistants....

    April 20, 2014

  • Pork producer subsidiary plans to use compressed gas

    GUYMON — A subsidiary of Oklahoma pork producer Seaboard Foods has begun using trucks fueled by compressed natural gas to deliver biodiesel....

    April 20, 2014

  • Oklahoma City Memorial Bombing museum gets tech boost

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A memorial and museum built to remember the worst act of domestic terrorism on American soil is in the midst of a $7 million upgrade so it can better portray how different the world was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the ...

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. puts off pipeline decision

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely....

    April 19, 2014

  • Sonic plans expansion

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma-based Sonic Corp. plans to open 1,000 new drive-in restaurants nationwide over the next 10 years, expanding the chain by about 30 percent, the company said....

    April 19, 2014

  • Fallin disappointed SBAdenied loans

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she is disappointed that a federal agency denied a request for loans to businesses in two Oklahoma towns affected by an emergency bridge closure....

    April 18, 2014

  • Oklahoma Senate approves limits on abortion drug

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to further restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs in Oklahoma in a bill written in direct response to a recent state Supreme Court decision....

    April 16, 2014