North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Z_CNHI News Service

August 14, 2013

Parents who lost son to stray police bullet want law changed

NOBLE, Okla. — The parents of a 5-year-old boy killed by a police officer's stray bullet are fighting to change Oklahoma laws that allowed the record of the officer's conviction of second-degree manslaughter to be thrown out.

Austin Haley was killed in 2007 when former police officer Paul Bradley Rogers and his former supervising officer, Robert Shawn Richardson, responded to a neighbor's call about removing a snake from a birdhouse. The snake was believed to be poisonous, so Richardson told Rogers to shoot the snake, but the boy was struck in the process.

Rogers was later found guilty of second-degree manslaughter, and he and Richardson received deferred sentences. That deferment allowed Rogers to get his record expunged, thanks to a law that was changed last year, said Austin's mother, Renee Haley.

"Normally deferred sentences would be for much lesser crimes," she said. "(This loophole) wasn't meant for people who killed a little 5-year-old boy. It was meant for lesser crimes."

Neither Rogers nor Richardson served any jail time, and they were asked by the court to do some community service with animals. Haley said Richardson is also seeking to have his record expunged.

"It was just hard on us, and they haven't received anything, in my opinion," she said. "Now it's even off the record."

Attorney Dave Stockwell said the expungement means Rogers' conviction is no longer available through court records or in online court databases, but it would still show up through a background check through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Stockwell said the officers' names also will still show up in Internet searches.

"He can't run and hide from this thing," Stockwell said.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Sideshows involving Rice and Dungy stain NFL's image

    Pro football training camps should be all about, well, football. But the talk around the NFL is about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension, Tony Dungy's indelicate remarks about Michael Sam and Jim Irsay's largesse. What kind of league is Roger Goodell running?

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo