ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The inmate who escaped from an Arizona prison in 2010 may use evidence of a mental illness as his defense against charges he carjacked and killed a vacationing couple in New Mexico.
It's a move that could help John McCluskey escape the death penalty and possibly even a conviction.
Regardless of McCluskey's mental state, the mother of murder victim Gary Haas remains convinced McCluskey should be executed.
"I'll never get over it," Vivian Haas, 82, told KRQE News 13. "It hurts every day. I think about it night and day."
Haas, who lives in Missouri, is still mourning the loss of her son and his wife Linda Haas.
The two were killed in August 2010 as they traveled near Santa Rosa on a camping trip to Colorado.
McCluskey is charged with carjacking and murdering the couple after breaking out of a privately run prison near Kingman, Ariz.
"I think he needs the death penalty," Haas said. "He took two lives. He only has one to give."
McCluskey's lawyers disagree and filed paperwork this week in federal court in Albuquerque saying they plan to introduce evidence McCluskey has a mental condition that could prevent a conviction.
According to the court notice, McCluskey's attorneys may also use the evidence to fight a possible death sentence.
Documents show the defense has gone to Beverly Hills neuropsychologist Deborah Miora to perform the mental evaluation.
Haas says McCluskey may very well be suffering from a mental condition to do what he did, but says that doesn't change the fact she wants justice after having to bury her son and daughter-in-law.
"He meant so much to me," she said. "He wanted to take care of me when I got old."
News 13 tried contacting McCluskey's attorneys for comment but has not heard back.
McCluskey's trial is currently scheduled to take place this summer. The Haas family plans to travel here from Missouri.
Two others who took part in the prison escape and murders, inmate Tracy Province and McCluskey's girlfriend Casslyn Welch , took plea deals and will testify against McCluskey.
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