Fiancee/Cousin of Prison Escapee Pleads Guilty to Escape and Robbery Charges. Federal Murder Case Still Looming
The accomplice of three inmates who broke out of an Arizona prison last summer pleaded guilty today to state-level charges of escape and robbery.
Casslyn Welch, the fiancee/cousin of one of the escaped inmates, will be sentenced to 20 years in prison for the state crimes. However, punishment for the federal charges against her could be a little more stiff -- including the possibility of the death penalty.
Welch's 20-year sentence won't be served until federal car-jacking and murder charges against her are resolved in New Mexico for the murders of Linda and Gary Haas -- both 61 and from Tecumseh, Oklahoma.
The victims, who were about to become grandparents, were on their annual summer trip to Colorado when their paths crossed with Welch the escaped inmates.
Authorities believe the couple met the thugs at a rest area along Interstate 40 in eastern New Mexico.
It's believed the couple were shot in their travel trailer before the inmates and Welch drove it to a remote area, unhitched the Hass' truck, and torched the trailer with the bodies of the inside.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop several other charges against Welch stemming from the escape, including kidnapping and aggravated assault for the abduction of two truck drivers -- who both were released unharmed -- the night of the escape.
In a separate case, the state also dropped several drug charges against Welch in exchange for her plea.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.