Ex-wife testifies in murder trial of Ariz. escapee

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by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Video report by Javier Soto

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 26 at 12:27 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The call from her ex-husband came in the middle of the night. All Joy Glattfelder knew was there were hostages involved and John McCluskey needed her to pick him up in Flagstaff, Ariz.

It was just hours after a prison break. McCluskey, a fellow inmate and their accomplice had kidnapped a pair of truckers, commandeered their semi and had been driving for more than four hours. They needed another ride.

"It was a matter of a life and death situation. If I didn't go, some people were going to die," she testified Tuesday. "I really didn't know what to do. I was in a really bad situation."

Glattfelder took the stand Tuesday in the capital murder trial of McCluskey, the last of three defendants to be tried on federal carjacking and murder charges in the 2010 slayings of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla.

Glattfelder told jurors that she didn't immediately know what had happened but that something wasn't right. She knew McCluskey was supposed to be "locked up." After panicking and pacing her Prescott Valley home, she decided to go.

She loaded up some clothes and her 12-year-old daughter, then took the trio to a country store owned by McCluskey's mother. There they picked up cash, supplies and keys to another get-away car that was parked at a family home in Mesa.

Under questioning, Glattfelder said she couldn't recall many details of that night.

McCluskey's defense team, meanwhile, questioned her credibility, accusing her of cooperating with prosecutors to get her own charges in the escape reduced to one charge of hindering the prosecution. She faces up to 30 years in prison.

Glattfelder described McCluskey and the others as nervous. She said she was nervous too but acknowledged not taking advantage of any opportunities to leave the group or call authorities. She said McCluskey told her not to contact anyone.

Prosecutors said it was two more days before McCluskey and the others would decide to target the Haases for their pickup truck and trailer at a rest stop near the Texas-New Mexico state line. The Haases were taken by gunpoint and forced to drive west on Interstate 40. They were told to pull off at a remote spot, where they were shot and killed.

Prosecutors allege McCluskey was the triggerman. The trio then drove the truck and trailer to a desolate ranch in eastern New Mexico and burned it with the Haases' bodies inside.

Jurors on Tuesday also heard from law enforcement agents who investigated the escape at the medium-security prison near Kingman and the kidnapping of the truck drivers that night.

One of the drivers, Prabhjeet Bains, said he was sure he and his partner were going to die.

"They said, `We just escaped from prison and we need a ride. Be smart. If you do something, we'll shoot you,'" Bains said.

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Follow Susan Montoya Bryan at http://www.twitter.com/susanmbryanNM .

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