Closing arguments expected in rare NM capital case

Ponca City Now - December 4, 2013 6:58 am

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Nearly six months after jury selection began, closing arguments are expected Wednesday in the death penalty trial of an Arizona inmate who kidnapped and murdered a retired Oklahoma couple while on the lam.

Forty-eight-year-old John McCluskey was convicted in early October of murder, carjacking and other charges in the August 2010 deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla., who were making their annual summer trek to Colorado. Jurors then had to decide if McCluskey was eligible for the death sentence.

Now, the same panel will decide whether McCluskey should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance for parole in what is only the second federal death penalty case to be deliberated in the state in a decade.

New Mexico outlawed the death penalty for state crimes in 2009.

 

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