NM jury selection begins in Okla. couple's killing

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm •  Published: July 22, 2013
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By midday, prosecutors and the defense had already dismissed a couple of potential jurors.

Jury selection is expected to last up to three weeks. U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera indicated the trial could last up to four months.

McCluskey has made no secret of his desire to steer clear of a trial and the death penalty. He agreed to plea negotiations earlier this year, but federal prosecutors said they were intent on moving toward trial.

The trial was also delayed earlier this year while McCluskey was treated for an undisclosed medical condition that resulted in weight loss and left him physically and mentally weak.

The charges stem from a carjacking that took place Aug. 2, 2010, at a rest stop near the New Mexico-Texas state line. Court documents said the fugitives forced themselves into the Haases' truck and ordered the couple, at gunpoint, to drive west on Interstate 40. They eventually exited onto a lonely two-lane road and stopped.

McCluskey was alone with the couple inside the trailer when gunshots rang out and the Haases were killed, according to court documents.

The fugitives drove the trailer to a more remote spot, unhitched it and used liquor they found inside to set it ablaze. Investigators found the Haases' remains along with three bullet casings among the charred debris. Gone were the couple's truck, money and guns.

Province was captured days later in Wyoming, and McCluskey and Welch were taken into custody at a campground in Arizona.

After being questioned by federal agents, McCluskey said he shot Gary Haas once and Linda Haas three times.

McCluskey's attorneys have implied that they plan to present evidence that he has a mental defect or disease. They have indicated in court filings that they might call to the stand a forensic neuropsychologist who performed clinical tests on McCluskey. Some of the tests assess a person's planning ability and could be used to show lack of intent.

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