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New Mexico death penalty case goes to jury

Wednesday - 12/4/2013, 7:59pm  ET

JERI CLAUSING
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The fate of an Arizona inmate who kidnapped and murdered a retired Oklahoma couple following a 2010 prison break is now in the hands of an Albuquerque jury.

The federal jurors will decide whether John McCluskey should be executed or sentenced to life in prison without parole for the August 2010 shootings of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla., as they passed through New Mexico.

During closing arguments Wednesday, defense attorneys trying to spare the convict's life reminded jurors that McCluskey is a human being who has had a hard life.

Attorney Gary Mitchell says McCluskey shouldn't have to pay the ultimate price "because the good lord didn't bless him with what you and I have."

Prosecutors, however, argued he is a dangerous, remorseless, cold-blooded killer who deserves nothing less than execution.


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