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Convict says escaped Ariz. inmate lied to captives

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm •  Published: August 28, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An escaped Arizona convict killed an Oklahoma couple following a prison break because he didn't want any witnesses to the carjacking and theft of their travel trailer and pickup truck, his former bunkmate and accomplice testified Wednesday.

In his third day on the stand in the capital murder trial of John McCluskey, Tracy Province said McCluskey told retirees Gary and Linda Haas that he wasn't going to hurt them, and that he only wanted their truck, cash and guns.

Province said McCluskey made it sound as if he were going to leave the couple in the New Mexico desert following their abduction from a highway rest stop in August 2010, but not too far for them to walk for help.

Instead, Province said, McCluskey took the Tecumseh, Okla., couple into the trailer and shot them.

According to court records and testimony, the escaped convicts and their accomplice then drove to a more remote spot and set the trailer on fire, with the Haases' bodies inside.

"People didn't deserve that," Province said in a recorded interview that was played for the jury.

Province then testified that he cooperated because he wanted the authorities and the victims' family to know what happened and where it happened.

Province also testified that he met with McCluskey's attorneys to tell them that their client wasn't "a real terrible guy" and had expressed remorse for the killings.

During the time the convicts were on the run, Province said McCluskey helped an elderly woman pump gas "out of kindness because that's how he was raised." He described McCluskey as respectful.

On Tuesday, McCluskey's defense tried to discredit Province, pointing to his criminal history, drug use and inconsistent statements.

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