Capital murder trial begins for Arizona fugitive

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - John McCluskey was arrested wearing one of the victims' caps. But his defense attorney says prosecutors will be unable to prove that the escaped Arizona prison inmate shot and incinerated a retired Oklahoma couple after they crossed paths with a trio of criminals at a New Mexico highway rest area.

Michael Burt said in opening statements that the government's whole case hangs solely on the testimony of his two alleged accomplices. One of them is a man who has a history of violent crimes and drug abuse who escaped along with McCluskey from prison, the other a woman who the defense team contends has repeatedly lied to investigators.

Burt questioned their credibility, noting they both made deals with federal prosecutors to avoid the death penalty.

John McCluskey is facing 20 counts in the 2010 carjacking and slaying of the retirees from Tecumseh (teh-KUHM'-sah).

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