It is almost unbelievable that after all this time, I still get sick to my stomach and shocked at the system, at least in Gila County.
I have lived here for 16 years, and since the death I should say murder of Jim Cooper, I am not very proud to be a resident of this community.
I, like many others, was appalled at the outcome of Roy Haught's jury trial, one where he was found guilty of the charges, by a jury of his peers, which called by law to have to serve a prison sentence.
Then at the sentencing, a judge totally disregarded the jury's verdict, which was an insult, and stated that this was a good man, etc, and gave him probation.
A good man who is married, with a family does not get drunk and go riding around with a couple of guys and a couple of very young girls, and follow another man to his home and, for no reason at all, beat and kick him to death. Then to hear that two higher courts, who reviewed the case, find that our good judge erred in his decision to overturn the jury's verdict, and he was to be re-sentenced.
No. Sheriff Armer is supposed to decide Mr. Haught's fate, however, in last week's Roundup in questions and answers, it sounds like he has already made his decision. I believe the question is, is Mr. Haught going to be given a work release and be in Payson. Everybody in these communities knows that he does not need to work to support his family.
To think that a man who throws a dog in front of a car, and the dog dies because he got angry over a little fender bender, that this man got sentenced to three years in prison, but a man who kills a human being gets a mere pat on his hand, or should I say his back, is disgusting. Anyone with just half a brain can figure out what has gone on in this case. If you have the right name, and money, you can get away with anything.
All we can pray for now is that Sheriff Armer has a conscience, and he has the power to right the wrongs done in our courts in this case. Deny the work release. He should rightfully and legally be in prison. If it were almost anyone else living up here committing such a crime, they would have been in prison a long time ago.
Mrs. Cooper, her daughters, their children and the entire community deserve more than they have received.