Penalty phase of Ariz. inmate murder case begins - New York News

Penalty phase of Ariz. inmate murder case begins

Updated:
John McCluskey John McCluskey

By JERI CLAUSING
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (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 they'll argue that McCluskey brain abnormalities, abuse by his father and his substance abuse led to an inability to control his impulses and reason like a normal person.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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