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Arizona fugitives charged with murder of Oklahoma couple

By the CNN Wire Staff
Casslyn Mae Welch is being held in Arizona. She's one of three people accused of killing an Oklahoma couple.
Casslyn Mae Welch is being held in Arizona. She's one of three people accused of killing an Oklahoma couple.
  • The two escapees and their alleged accomplice are accused of killing the retired couple
  • If convicted, the three could receive a life sentence or the death penalty
  • The husband and wife killed were recently retired and were on their way to Colorado

(CNN) -- Two Arizona prison escapees and their alleged accomplice were charged Monday with murder in the deaths of an Oklahoma couple, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors issued warrants for Arizona fugitives John Charles McCluskey, 45, and Tracy Allen Province, 42, and their suspected accomplice, Casslyn Mae Welch, 44.

All three are currently in custody in Arizona. McCluskey and Province broke out of prison there on July 30, allegedly with Welch's help,

The three are accused of killing Gary and Linda Haas, after carjacking the couple traveling in New Mexico on August 2. The complaint says McCluskey shot and killed the Haases in their travel trailer, after which he, Province and Welsh drove the couple's truck and trailer to a remote area in Guadalupe, New Mexico.

The three then unhitched the camper and burned it with the Hasses' remains still inside, said prosecutors. New Mexico police found the burned trailer on August 4.

If convicted, McCluskey, Province and Welch could receive life sentences or the death penalty, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales, who spoke at a news conference announcing the charges.

Video: Arizona fugitive couple arrested

Welch, who was on the visitation list for one of the inmates, threw cutting tools over a prison fence to help the men escape, corrections officials have said.

Province was arrested in Wyoming in early August. McCluskey and Welch were arrested in Arizona last week, after a nationwide, multiple-agency manhunt. The search for McCluskey and Welch ranged from the Southwest to western Montana, and along the U.S. border with Canada.

McCluskey also faces charges of carjacking, kidnapping, escape in the second degree, armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and misconduct involving weapons. Welch faces similar, but fewer charges.

According to Gonzales, the Haases, both 61, had recently retired.

They were traveling from their home in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, where they had vacationed with family and friends for the past 11 summers, when they were killed, he said.