Jury selection to wrap up in NM murder case

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- A panel of jurors has been chosen to hear the case of an Arizona inmate who escaped from prison and is accused of killing a retired couple who was traveling through New Mexico.

John McCluskey is the last defendant to face federal carjacking and murder charges in the 2010 deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla. If convicted, prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys spent nearly three weeks questioning dozens of potential jurors about everything from their views on the death penalty to their knowledge of the justice system.

On Thursday, they chose nine women and three men from a pool of 68 candidates.

The panel includes four Hispanics and one American Indian, but defense attorneys have filed a motion challenging the diversity of the jury pool. They contend minorities are underrepresented.