The brutal carjacking and murder of a vacationing Oklahoma couple pulled over at a New Mexico rest stop will mean five life terms for Tracy Allen Province and a possible life sentence for Casslyn Mae Welch based on pleas they entered Friday in federal court.
The pleas set the stage for the two to be called to testify at the March 2013 trial against John Charles McCluskey, the third defendant in the case and the alleged shooter of Linda and Gary Haas. McCluskey potentially faces a federal death penalty prosecution, but prosecutors haven’t yet filed a notice declaring their intent to seek the death penalty.
Three members of the victims’ families were in the courtroom for the pleas, but declined comment through a victim advocate for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Welch, 45, McCluskey’s cousin and reputed girlfriend, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit carjacking, carjacking, conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce, interference with interstate commerce, four counts of using a firearm in a crime of violence and being a fugitive in possession of firearms.
Province, 44, pled to those charge as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Welch and Province already have entered state court guilty pleas in Arizona related to the Kingman prison breakout that Welch facilitated. Province and McCluskey were both inmates at the prison.
The back-to-back plea hearings were conducted before U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera at the government’s request.