Parents of slain Noble boy upset over expungement

One of the former police officers found guilty in the 2007 shooting death of a 5-year-old Oklahoma boy has had his record expunged despite the violent nature of the crime, a fact that troubles Austin Haley's parents.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: August 13, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: August 12, 2013

“If it were you or me or any other civilian, they wouldn't give us this chance,” Jack Haley said. “That's the reason Greg Mashburn has the (police unions) on his side ... because they know they can get sweet deals whenever they make mistakes.”

Mashburn said both Rogers and Richardson had to surrender their police certification at sentencing. He also said the kind of expungement Rogers was granted will not completely erase the former officer's connection to Austin Haley's death.

“Law enforcement will still have access to all these records,” Mashburn said. “Obviously, that would include any potential law enforcement employers.”

Old wounds

At the time of Austin Haley's shooting death, the former Noble officers had been called to a rural property to help an animal control officer remove a snake from a birdhouse.

Court records show that Rogers fired two shots at the snake, which was hanging from the birdhouse when they arrived, after Richardson gave him the go-ahead.

One of the bullets struck Austin Haley, who had been fishing with his grandfather at a nearby pond moments earlier, in the back of the head.

An affidavit filed indicates that a neighbor told Rogers and Richardson there was “nothing in the heavily wooded area” where the pond is located.

Jack Haley said his family has healed since his son's death but admitted Rogers' expungement has reopened old wounds.

“We want everybody to know that we still have forgiveness ... but this is no longer about forgiveness,” he said. “It's about public safety and the fact that we don't want these guys to be officers again.”


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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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