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Petty seeks murder charge dismissal

Rusty Boyd Petty
Rusty Boyd Petty

A December hearing is scheduled on a motion to have a murder charge dropped for the male suspect in last year’s brutal slaying in Osage County of Bartlesville resident Timothy Hauser.

The Osage County District Court motion seeks dismissal of the first-degree murder charge against Rusty Boyd Petty due to alleged improprieties during his arrest and initial questioning in the Hauser case. It was filed two weeks ago by Petty’s state-appointed attorney, L. Wayne Woodyard of Pawhuska.

Petty, 41, and female co-defendant Trysta Shaffer, 29, are charged with killing Hauser during an August 2012 robbery. According to prosecutors, the robbery (and subsequent assaults) occurred after the couple accompanied their 61-year-old neighbor on an late-night outing to a casino west of Bartlesville.

Hauser was listed as a missing person until late December when his remains were discovered a few hundred yards from a rural, dead-end road where the robbery allegedly took place. Shaffer and Petty were ordered to stand trial on the murder charge three months ago following a two-day preliminary hearing. At the start of the two-day hearing, the state withdrew a charge of conjoint robbery originally filed against the pair.

In his motion for dismissal, Woodyard claims that Petty was bound over for trial based largely on inadmissible evidence. Woodyard asserts that Osage County authorities neglected to obtain a warrant and established no probable cause for detaining Petty on the robbery charge.

Woodyard said that deputies took custody of Petty within three hours of his arrest in Bartlesville on drunk-driving charges. The Osage County investigator who conducted the initial interview “claimed that he could not detect any alcoholic odor when questioning Petty” and said he felt Petty was competent when he consented to make a voluntary statement.

The defense attorney cites other testimony from the preliminary hearing that indicated deputies took Petty from hospital care shortly after he had been given medication for anxiety that rendered him “out of it.” According to the motion: “…there were no exigent circumstances which would justify an arrest without warrant before Petty was in any condition to talk (or flee).”

After about 20 minutes of questioning the following day, “Petty made a request for an attorney,” the motion states. It added that one deputy testified that he had no further conversations with Petty about lawyers, saying,”he didn’t ask, and I didn’t offer.” Because an attorney was not provided as requested, subsequent statements made by Petty are inadmissible in the case, according to Woodyard.

Statements made by Shaffer which implicated Petty in Osage County crimes would have “justified the officers making a brief stop, posing questions and informing him that he was wanted for questioning. But that is all. Not full arrest,” the motion stated.

Two weeks after conclusion of the preliminary hearing, Petty was ordered for hospital examinations to determine his competency to stand trial. Similar testing was conducted early this year in response to claims of mental illness made by Petty in a letter to Special Judge Stuart Tate. When the court was presented a report on those tests, Petty agreed to waive his right to a formal competency hearing.

The hearing on the motion to quash the murder charge is set at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, before Osage County Associate District Judge B. David Gambill. Petty and Shaffer are each being held in lieu of $1 million bonds.

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