McCluskey Co-Conspirators Sentenced for Participating in Plot to Carjack and Murder Oklahoma Couple
ALBUQUERQUE—Tracy Allen Province, 46, and Casslyn Mae Welch, 47, were sentenced today for participating in a plot to carjack and murder a retired couple from Oklahoma in Aug. 2010. U.S. District Judge Judith C. Herrera of the District of New Mexico sentenced Province to five consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of release as required by his plea agreement. Judge Herrera imposed a 40-year prison sentence on Welch but delayed imposing judgment for two weeks to permit the parties to submit briefs on a related issue.
The sentences were announced by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez of the District of New Mexico, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and New Mexico State Police Chief Pete N. Kassetas.
Province and Welch and their co-defendant John Charles McCluskey, 49, were charged with numerous capital offenses in an indictment arising out of the August 2, 2010, carjacking and murders of Gary and Linda Haas, both 61, in Quay County, New Mexico. On January 20, 2012, Province and Welch entered guilty pleas to numerous crimes arising out of the carjacking and murder of Mr. and Mrs. Haas and agreed to testify during McCluskey’s capital trial.
On October 7, 2013, the jury found McCluskey guilty on all counts of the indictment after an eight-week trial and found McCluskey eligible for the death penalty on November 5, 2013, following a three-week proceeding. The McCluskey capital trial concluded on December 11, 2013, when the jury said it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the death penalty, thus requiring that McCluskey be sentenced to life in prison. McCluskey’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.
The evidence presented during the capital trial established that, on July 30, 2010, McCluskey and Province escaped from an Arizona state prison with Welch’s aid. On August 2, 2010, McCluskey, Province, and Welch carjacked Mr. and Mrs. Haas and their pickup truck and camping trailer at a rest stop off Interstate 40 in Quay County. McCluskey shot and killed Mr. and Mrs. Haas in the trailer in a remote location east of Tucumcari, New Mexico. The three confederates then drove the Haases’ truck and trailer to a remote area in Guadalupe County, New Mexico, where they unhitched, burned, and abandoned the trailer with the Haases’ remains still inside. On August 4, 2010, the New Mexico State Police discovered the burned remains of Mr. and Mrs. Haas in the trailer. Province was arrested in Wyoming on August 9, 2010, and McCluskey and Welch were arrested in Arizona on August 19, 2010, following a nationwide, multi-agency manhunt.
The case was investigated by Albuquerque and Phoenix Divisions of the FBI and the New Mexico State Police and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Mott and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Fouratt of the District of New Mexico, and Trial Attorney Michael S. Warbel of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section, with assistance from Kristopher N. Houghton, a contract attorney employed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.