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Murder case proceeding slowly

A preliminary hearing has been set in June for the man and woman charged with first-degree murder in the August 2012 robbery-related slaying of Bartlesville resident Timothy Hauser.

The two suspects — 41-year-old Rusty Boyd Petty and 28-year-old Trysta Alberta Eileen Shaffer — were in Osage County District Court on Friday for the continuation of pre-preliminary hearings. The proceedings have extended over the past four months. In addition to the murder charge, the pair faces a second count for robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Delays in the case have been due to a variety of factors, including overdue completion of state medical examiner reports based on the Hauser autopsy. Human remains linked to the missing 62-year-old were discovered in late December, a few miles from where Hauser was last seen alive four months earlier.

Osage County Special Judge Stuart Tate scheduled the preliminary hearing for June 27. Tate will preside over the hearing, which is slated to begin at 9 a.m.

An initial appearance was made at the Friday court session by a lawyer with the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System who has taken over legal representation for one of the suspects.

L. Wayne Woodyard of Pawhuska, an OIDS attorney who specializes in death-penalty cases, has been appointed by the state-funded legal service to defend Petty. A former Osage County assistant district attorney, Woodyard is a member of the system’s Capital Trial Division for the Tulsa area, which is based in Sapulpa. He has served with OIDS for more than a decade.

Shaffer will continue to be defended in the murder/robbery case by Bartlesville attorney Glenn Davis, whose law office has been handling the OIDS defenses for both suspects. Up to this point, Petty had been defended by Davis associate Rodney Ramsey.

Another lawyer from Davis’ office, Burl ‘Bo’ Estes, is serving as defense counsel for Kathleen Renee Roland — a 37-year-old Bartlesville woman charged as an accessory to the robbery of Hauser. Roland waived a preliminary hearing in her case and is free on bond while awaiting trial.

Shaffer and Petty were arrested in mid-August, a week after Hauser disappeared. They are being held in the Osage County Jail on $1 million bonds.

According to affidavits filed by investigators in the case, the two murder suspects admitted to assaulting Hauser during a pre-planned robbery on the early morning of Aug. 9. Evidence linked to the victim was later found along a rural Osage County road a few miles west of Bartlesville where the suspects told them the robbery took place, says the affidavit.

The bodily remains of Hauser were located approximately a half mile from where the other evidence had been found.

Since 1991, the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System provides criminal defense services for persons who are judicially determined to be entitled to legal counsel at state expense.

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