I am writing this in defense of the Haught families.
I moved here from Prescott in 1949 and married into the Haught family, of which I am very proud. I know this doesn't classify me as an old-timer, like the people that moved here in the 1970s and 1980s seem to think they are. They seem to think the Haughts are a prominent ranching family, which in fact all they have are a few roping steers. The last time a Haught owned a ranch was in the 1930s and it was sold in 1945. Also, they did not settle in Tonto Basin (the next thing told would be that they settled Mesa, Tempe and Phoenix, which of course is not true). Also, the Haughts do not run Payson now, and never have.
If we are in the ranching business and also are so prominent that we can do as we please, why are so many of us working for wages, trying to make a decent living?
In regard to KMOG's morning talk show on March 18, the gentleman who came on and said Roy Haught was a martial arts master and had a black belt had better get his facts straight. Roy does not know the first thing about martial arts. Also the man that said Mrs. Cooper should sue and take his business is way out of line. People with those kinds of attitudes are not needed in this town.
There is so much misinformation going around this town that it is unreal. The majority of the people spreading these rumors know absolutely nothing about what happened that night, so they should keep their opinions to themselves. Nothing can be gained by this except to hurt innocent people, namely Roy's young children.
This was an unfortunate accident and the ones who think the sentence was unfair have a right to their opinion, just as we have. When you hit someone in self-defense, in a fair fight, you don't expect that person to die. Saying that Judge Ronnie McDaniel influenced Judge Dawson is just one more example of misinformation. These are two upstanding officers of the court, doing their best to uphold the law, and do not deserve the verbal abuse they are getting.
I am Roy's aunt and I am proud of the man he has turned into. There are some people in this town that think Roy and his families are a bunch of boozers and roughnecks. I resent those remarks about us, as they are entirely untrue.
Also, the ones that think this is not bothering Roy do not know the kind of deep feelings this man has. He will have to live with this the rest of his life, and I think that is punishment enough, to go along with his judicial sentence.
Granted, Mr. Cooper was probably a good man, but most of the abuse that is being heaped on the Haughts seems to be coming from Pine and Strawberry.
If the newspaper and the radio station would look into some of these things, and quit printing and broadcasting rumors, maybe in time things would cool down and there would not be the hard feelings that are growing between these three towns.
When I came here in '49 this was a pleasant place to live, and now the three towns have turned into small, back-biting Peyton Places.