A preliminary hearing is scheduled here Thursday for a man and woman accused of killing a 61-year-old Bartlesville resident during a robbery last year in a rural area five miles west of Bartlesville.
Rusty Boyd Petty, 41, and Trysta Alberta Eileen Shaffer, 29, are charged in Osage County District Court with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the August 2012 death of Timothy Allen Hauser.
The hearing — which has been delayed several times — is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. before Special Judge Stuart Tate.
Hauser went missing last Aug. 9 after leaving the Osage Casino-Bartlesville, said investigators with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office. Shaffer and Petty were seen accompanying the man from the casino at around 1:35 a.m., officials added. The two suspects were taken into custody approximately a week after Hauser disappeared.
In separate interviews with OCSO investigators, Petty and Shaffer admitted discussing a plan earlier that night to "roll" the partially-disabled Bartlesville man, according to affidavits filed in the case. The pair apparently believed that Hauser — with whom they sometimes resided — was in possession of a large sum of money.
Both defendants reportedly told authorities that Hauser was driven to a remote area located a few miles north of the casino where he was hit on the head with a liquor bottle, as well as with a tire iron. They said Hauser was severely injured at the time they fled the scene of the attacks.
Within days of the arrests of Shaffer and Petty, investigators were directed to a remote area on an Osage County side road where the robbery of Hauser allegedly took place. Personal papers from the victim’s wallet were recovered at the location, which is approximately five miles west of the Bartlesville Airport.
An underwater search also was conducted near the Cherokee Bridge in Bartlesville. That effort is believed to have led to the recovery of a tire tool from the Caney River.
Four months after Hauser’s disappearance, human remains were found by a deer hunter in a thicket just a few hundred yards from the alleged attack site. Although the discovery was made Dec. 29 and the body identified as the missing man within a week, funeral services for Hauser were not held until March 30 because of delays in the investigation by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office.
Delayed reports from the ME’s office also held up the court proceedings for Shaffer and Petty, who were named in the murder charge on March 22. The suspects have been held at the Osage County Jail in lieu of $1 million bonds.
Early this year, Petty requested and received a mental competency evaluation after he sent a letter to the judge in which he claimed to suffer from a variety of mental disorders. The competency issue was dropped by the defendant during a Jan. 18 hearing at which a psychiatrist’s report on Petty was read.
In late October, a 37-year-old Bartlesville woman — Kathleen Renee Roland — was charged as an accessory in the robbery case. Roland had reportedly told investigators that she allowed Shaffer and Petty to stay at her apartment for several days after the Aug. 9 incident. The woman said she was told that the man had been struck with a tire iron following his attempted attack on Shaffer.
According to an affidavit filed in her case, Roland said she had loaned Petty a pair of pants after he arrived at her residence with blood stains on the ones he was wearing. She also said she was given money by Shaffer — $20 to keep and $320 "to hold for Petty and Shaffer."
Roland said she suspected that the money was from a robbery, adding: "I didn’t ask ‘cause I didn’t want to know," the affidavit stated. In December, Roland waived a preliminary hearing on her accessory charge in December and has been free on a $1,000 bond.
All three of the defendants are receiving legal aid through the Oklahoma Indigent Defense Service. Shaffer is being represented by Glenn E. Davis of Bartlesville. Pawhuska attorney L. Wayne Woodyard, a member of the OIDS Capital Division, was appointed in April to defend Petty.