ALBUQUERQUE — Two escaped convicts from Arizona and a woman who accompanied them were charged with murder and carjacking yesterday in the deaths of an Oklahoma couple who authorities said were targeted because of their camping trailer.
Federal prosecutors in New Mexico filed the charges against John McCluskey, 45; Tracy Province, 42; and their alleged accomplice, Casslyn Welch, 44.
They are accused in the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla.
Authorities said the three fugitives saw the couple at a rest area along Interstate 40 in eastern New Mexico Aug. 2, three days after the men escaped from the Arizona State Prison in Kingman. An arrest warrant says the three were tired of traveling in a car they stole in Flagstaff, Ariz., and decided “it would be a good idea to target someone driving a camper or trailer.’’
Prosecutors say McCluskey shot and killed the couple inside their travel trailer. The three fugitives drove the truck and trailer to a remote area of New Mexico’s Guadalupe County, where they unhitched, burned, and abandoned the trailer, authorities said.
US Attorney Kenneth Gonzales said at a news conference that the Haases were traveling to Pagosa Springs, Colo., for a camping trip. He described them as “two people on vacation who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.’’
McCluskey and Welch, who is his cousin and fiancee, were captured at a Forest Service campground near Springerville, Ariz., last week. Province was arrested Aug. 8 in Wyoming and has been returned to Arizona.
Gonzales said efforts were underway to extradite all three to New Mexico.
The trio also face charges in Arizona including kidnapping, armed robbery, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. They are accused of hijacking a tractor-trailer shortly after the escape.