A 29-year-old Bartlesville woman, Trysta Alberta Eileen Shaffer, was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment Friday after pleading guilty to murder for the brutal slaying of 61-year-old Timothy Allen Hauser.
Shaffer admitted to plotting a robbery that resulted in the death of Hauser, a life-long Bartlesville resident. The victim was bludgeoned with a tire-changing tool in rural eastern Osage County on the early morning of Aug. 9, 2012 — shortly after Hauser had departed Osage Casino-Bartlesville with Shaffer and a 42-year-old Bartlesville resident, Rusty Boyd Petty.
The admission of guilt by Shaffer was part of a plea agreement with the Osage County District Attorney’s office in which the original first-degree murder charge was reduced to second-degree murder.
Prosecutors said the negotiated pleadings ensured that both of the defendants will spend time in prison for the brutal crime.
Shaffer received the same terms for incarceration as her co-conspirator — 35 years in custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, with the final 10 years to be suspended. The guilty plea was accepted by Associate District Judge B. David Gambill, who imposed her sentence exactly 10 days after a similar plea was entered by Petty.
Petty pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of murder on Dec. 3. Prior to his sentencing, Petty testified that he feigned car trouble and stopped along a dirt roadway between the casino and Bartlesville. He admitted hitting Hauser with a liquor bottle after they got out of the vehicle to look under its hood.
Although Hauser put up a struggle, he was finally knocked unconscious and robbed, the suspect said.
In speaking of the plea negotiations, Osage County First Assistant District Attorney Mike Fisher explained that there were legal concerns over self-incriminating statements Petty had made early in the investigation.
The two suspects were arrested separately, approximately a week after Hauser disappeared. Petty was taken into custody at an area hospital where he was undergoing treatment for psychiatric disorders, Osage County Sheriff’s Office deputies testified last summer during a preliminary hearing.
Shortly after being arrested, Petty indicated to the officers that he wanted a lawyer, an OCSO officer had testified. A lawyer was not provided at that time, the officer said, because Petty told the deputies he might continue talking to them "if he could smoke a cigarette." After being provided with a smoke, Petty continued with the interview.
Petty subsequently implicated himself in the slaying while leading authorities to the site of the attack on Hauser. He also directed law enforcement on a search of the Caney River, from which a tire tool — the suspected murder weapon — was recovered. During the testimony, Petty admitted striking Hauser with a tire tool and then leaving him behind when he and Shaffer fled the scene.
Twice during the year-long proceedings, Petty’s attorneys filed motions regarding the mental competency of their client.
Relatives of Hauser voiced objections to the court over the negotiated pleas. They appeared to be particularly incensed by the fact that neither of the suspects would divulge the whereabouts of the victim’s body, which had remained hidden in a thicket for nearly five months before being discovered by a deer hunter. It was found late last year near where the attack took place.