The Norman Transcript

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
  • Sentencing delayed for Oklahoma tea party leader

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Formal sentencing for the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party on felony blackmail and computer crimes convictions has been delayed....

    July 23, 2014

  • Heat advisory issued for much of Oklahoma

    TULSA — The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through late today for much of the state as stifling heat and humidity continue to affect Oklahoma this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • 34 OSBI agents graduate investigative academy

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Thirty-four agents are graduating from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Advanced Investigative Academy....

    July 23, 2014

  • Okla. legislator doctor wants minors quarantined

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined....

    July 23, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has state teachers worried about instruction

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With the Legislature’s repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they’re concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 states ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Highway Patrol sees spike in number of applicants

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Two bills that passed the Legislature this past spring have sparked an increase in the number of applicants to join the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, officials said....

    July 20, 2014

  • 1M visit Okla. parks

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A new report from the National Parks Service shows that more than 1 million people visited Oklahoma’s national parks in 2013 and spent $17.2 million. Oklahoma has thee national parks: Washita Battlefield National Historic ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Unemployment rate falls to 4.5 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.5 percent in June. The figures released Friday by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission show that while the number of Oklahomans without a ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Gay Marriage Oklahoma Court reverses ban on gay marriage

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A federal appeals court rulied Friday that Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, spurring celebration among gay rights activists but sparking sharp anger among Republican leaders in a conservative state that ...

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma firefighters help combat western wildfires

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Firefighters from Oklahoma are heading west to help battle wildfires....

    July 19, 2014