Parents unhappy with plea deal

Tuesday, March 11th 2008, 7:43 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

NOBLE, Okla. -- Two former Noble police officers won't spend any time behind bars after shooting a 5-year-old boy to death. Sources close to the case confirm to NEWS 9 a plea deal is in the works.

Five-year-old Austin Haley was fishing with his grandfather when he was hit with a bullet. The officers were shooting at a snake.

Autin's parents aren't happy with the reported plea deal.

"We miss him so much, Life has completely changed. Dalton our son misses him everyday. He still talks about him.

Tears of grief over the death of Jack and Renee Haley's son has given way to anger now that the officers behind the tragedy may not spend any time behind bars.

"All we can do basically is let everyone know that we're not happy with the decision and that we don't agree with the decision," Jack said.

Austin was fishing with his grandfather last August on this pond when Noble police officers Robert Richardson and Paul Rogers arrived. They were responding to a report of a snake in a tree.

The men drew their weapons and fired two shots, one of which fatally struck Austin. Initially, both men were charged with manslaughter, but Tuesday afternoon, NEWS 9 learned a plea deal was in the works.

Under the agreement, the men would plead guilty to manslaughter; receive a 2-year deferred sentence along with a $1,000 fine. They would also lose their CLEET certification, but could reapply within two years. The Haley's say this isn't justice.

"We would like to see the officers do some jail time," Jack said "We would like to see a precedent set. We would like to see an example made."

District Attorney David Brockman wouldn't confirm a deal was on the table.

"Every step of the way we've been in contact with the family, even though they haven't agreed with everything we've done," Brockman said.

"They always told us after they'd already done it," Renee said. "The time that they called us in to tell us what the deal was. They already offered it to the police."

Both officers have since been fired from the department, but that along with this latest information is no consolation to the Haley's who remain in a prison of grief.