Penalty phase of McCluskey murder case begins

Posted at: 10/21/2013 11:07 AM
Updated at: 10/21/2013 1:34 PM
By: JERI CLAUSING, The Associated Press

John McCluskey was found guilty in the double murder of a couple in New Mexico.
John McCluskey was found guilty in the double murder of a couple in New Mexico.
Photo: KOB File Photo

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) -- Jurors in Albuquerque heard opening statements as the penalty phase began Monday in the capital murder trial of John McCluskey.

The Arizona prison inmate faces a possible death sentence for the killings in New Mexico of a retired Oklahoma couple following a 2010 Arizona prison break.

The same federal court jurors who convicted McCluskey earlier this month after a four-month trial returned to decide whether he should be executed or sentenced life in prison.

A prosecutor told the jurors that McCluskey's violent history and his convictions in the current case make him eligible for the death penalty.

A defense lawyer said McCluskey's brain abnormalities, abuse by his father and his history of substance abuse led to an inability to control his impulses and reason like a normal person.

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