Defense argues mental deficiencies in murder case - Dallas News |

Defense argues mental deficiencies in murder case

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John McCluskey John McCluskey

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Defense attorneys trying to spare convicted murder John McCluskey from the death penalty for the slayings of an Oklahoma couple have wrapped up their case in the first phase of his sentencing trial.

They called their last witness Wednesday, a radiologist who testified that scans show a small defect in the area of McCluskey's brain that controls coordination.

Dr. Mark Depper testified on cross examination that he did not see any other abnormalities.

The defense argues McCluskey is incapable of controlling his impulses and making reasoned decisions. Prosecutors point to his violent criminal past, saying he meets the criteria for the death penalty.

McCluksey was convicted Oct. 7 of first-degree murder in the August 2010 carjacking killings of Linda and Gary Haas. The killings happened days after McCluskey's escape from an Arizona prison.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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