Arizona Fugitives Charged with Murder for Deaths of Oklahoma Couple

John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch (AP Photo/Matt York)
Arizona Fugitives Charged With Murder for Deaths of Oklahoma Couple
John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch (AP Photo/Matt York)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CBS/AP) Two of the Arizona prison escapees and their alleged female accomplice have been charged with the murder of an Oklahoma couple who authorities say were singled out because of their camping trailer.

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John McCluskey, 45, Tracy Province, 42, and Casslyn Welch, 44, were charged Monday with the murders of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Oklahoma. The three fugitives also face carjacking charges.

According to authorities, the trio spotted the Haases and their trailer at a rest area in eastern New Mexico on Aug. 2.

They had decided "it would be a good idea to target someone driving a camper or a trailer" because they were tired of traveling and sleeping in the stolen vehicle they acquired in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Federal prosecutors say McCluskey shot and killed the couple inside their trailer, and the fugitives proceeded to drive the Haases' truck and trailer to a remote area of New Mexico's Guadalupe County.  The fugitives then unhitched the trailer and burned it with the bodies of the slain couple still inside.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales says the Haases were on their way to Pagosa Springs, Colo. for a camping trip and believed the couple was just "at the wrong place at the wrong time."

In addition to the charges in New Mexico, McCluskey, Province, and Welch also face charges in Arizona including kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

As of now, it is not clear whether the three will first be prosecuted in Arizona or New Mexico; however, Gonzales hopes New Mexico will take the reins because it is the location of the most serious charges.

McCluskey and Province escaped from the Arizona State Prison in Kingman July 30 with the help of Welch who tossed wire cutters over a security fence allowing the escapees to cut themselves free.