Federal prosecutors have filed a new indictment against Arizona prison escapee John Charles McCluskey along with notice of intent to seek the federal death penalty against him for the carjacking and murder of Linda and Gary Haas of Tecumseh, Okla., in 2010.
Prosecutors are seeking death for crimes including carjacking resulting in death, killing a witness, and causing death with a firearm during a crime of violence.
The death penalty filing, which requires approval from the U.S. Attorney General, comes at the conclusion of a process that includes presentations by both prosecution and defense to top officials at the U.S. Department of Justice.
It comes as no major surprise given the guilty pleas last week by McCluskey’s two codefendants, Casslyn Mae Welch and Tracy Allen Province. Welch has admitted helping her cousin McCluskey, Province and another inmate escape from a prison near Kingman, Ariz.
Although neither Welch nor Province has yet been sentenced, Province’s deal with the government calls for five consecutive life terms without possibility of release.
In addition to meeting the minimum requirements for a death penalty prosecution — that McCluskey is over 18, killed the Haases and did so in a manner that constituted “a reckless disregard for human life,” the notice also cites aggravating factors.
—McCluskey’s 1992 convictions for robbery, criminal conspiracy, and aggravated assault in Lancaster County, Pa;
— His 2009 convictions for attempted second degree murder, discharge of
a firearm at a structure, and aggravated assault in Maricopa County, Ariz.;
— His 2011 convictions for kidnapping, armed robbery, and aggravated
assault, Mohave County, Ariz.
— McCluskey’s allegedly committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel, and
depraved manner involving serious physical abuse to the victims.
— He intentionally killed more than one person in a single criminal