Escape trial begins for AZ inmate, security upped

AP News
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 5:42 PM
Escape trial begins for AZ inmate, security upped

An escape, kidnapping and robbery trial has begun under heightened security for an Arizona inmate accused of busting out of state prison and leading authorities on a three-week, multistate manhunt last year.

John McCluskey has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the alleged escape and hijacking of two truck drivers. The 46-year-old faces separate charges in New Mexico, where he and two others are accused of killing an Oklahoma couple. McCluskey's co-defendants resolved their Arizona charges without trials.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn questioned potential jurors Tuesday as an armed guard stood within arm's length of McCluskey. Opening arguments were expected to begin Wednesday, with the trial lasting through Friday.

Sheriff's officials say they upped security at the trial after McCluskey tried to head butt a detective.