By Scott Sandlin
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
Jan. 20—Casslyn Mae Welch and Tracy Allen Province are scheduled to enter guilty pleas today in connection with the Aug. 4, 2010, kidnapping and murder of a vacationing Oklahoma couple who had stopped at an Interstate 40 rest stop in Quay County.
A change of plea hearing is scheduled in U.S. District Court, though the notice of the hearing does not reveal the exact nature of the pleas the two are scheduled to enter.
Welch pleaded guilty in state court in Arizona to helping Province, her cousin and boyfriend, John Charles McCluskey, and a third inmate, break out of an Arizona prison, after which they carjacked a semi and two truck drivers to flee to Flagstaff.
Province and Welch reportedly voted to let the truck drivers live, and then with McCluskey, stole a small gray car in Arizona. They later hijacked the 2006 Chevy crew cab pickup of Linda and Gary Haas of Tecumseh, Okla., while the couple was stopped between Santa Rosa and Tucumcari.
Leaving Interstate 40 and continuing north, they stopped on a remote ranch, according to documents filed in the case.
Welch and Province reportedly were outside the camper trailer when they heard four or five gunshots. Province smelled gunpowder, and Welch saw blood seeping under the door of the trailer, which they burned.
The trio returned to I-40 and drove to Albuquerque.
Welch and McCluskey were arrested in Arizona, and Province was later arrested in Wyoming.
Prosecutors are still considering whether to file a notice that they will seek the federal death penalty on McCluskey.
Pleadings expected today in Quay County slayings
By Scott Sandlin