Last week, John McCluskey was sentenced to life without possibility of release in a federal prison, after a New Mexico jury could not unanimously agree that he should be executed for the 2010 carjacking murders of Gary and Linda Haas of Oklahoma.
This outcome occurred years and at least a million dollars later than it should have.
In February, the Albuquerque Journal reported that McCluskey had been willing since early in the case to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence less than death. Yet, government prosecutors rebuffed all efforts to resolve this case without an expensive trial.
As recently as February 2013, Senior Judge James A. Parker offered to mediate. Then U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales rejected the offer, though he acknowledged the “logistical and financial burdens that capital prosecutions inflict on the entire U.S. District Court, and particularly the chambers of the assigned judge.”