Mom’s wish for son’s killers: ‘I hope they rot in hell’

Special Reports

MILWAUKIE, Ore. (KOIN) — Patty Haley recently had a dream about her son, Joe. 

“He told me he was alright and ‘Please, mom, quit grieving.’ And I just can’t.”

Around 10:45 a.m. on March 20, 2009, there was a knock at the door of Joe Haley’s place in the Willow Creek Apartments in the Oak Grove neighborhood of Clackamas County. Joe’s girlfriend and their roommate told investigators 2 men knocked, then barged their way in and forced them to lie on the floor.

The gunmen found Joe in his bedroom. As he was getting out of bed, he was shot twice in the chest with .50 caliber bullets. He was 28.

Photos: The unsolved murder of Joe Haley 

Patty said she saw the report on the news and thought it was her son’s apartments. She called and called and called — “and nothing.”

At that time, Detective Jim Strovink with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said the 2 men were black, between 6-feet and 6-2, with a large build and wearing large white puffy jackets.

Joe’s roommates were questioned repeatedly but said they couldn’t recognize the intruders. Investigators also said nothing was stolen from the apartment.

“None of it makes sense,” his mother said. “They didn’t take his jewelry. They didn’t take anything.”

At the time of his death, he was working the night shift for a meat company and he hoped to do some traveling.

“He wanted to go on a cruise, but that never happened,” Patty recently told KOIN 6 News. “He was a giving person. He’d give you the shirt off his back.”

At his funeral, his many friends signed his Tony Dorsett Dallas Cowboys jersey.

“I just don’t understand why someone would do this to him.”

It’s been 10 years and Patty Haley still misses their everyday conversations. 

“I just go on with life. I mean, I have to go on. That’s what he would want, not to sit and cry every day,” she said. “‘Pick up your head, mom, and I’m always there on your shoulder.’ So, that’s what I’ve done.”

But he’s never far away from her.

“We had his ashes put in a box, a beautiful box with his picture on it,” she said. “I look at him every day.”

After a decade without any answers or arrests, sadness mixes with anger knowing her son’s killers have never been brought to justice.

“He was a great kid. He’ll always be in my heart and nobody can take that away.”

No arrest could ever bring her son back, but Patty said it would bring her some comfort to know they didn’t get away with taking Joe’s life.

“I want them to know they ruined my life. They took my baby away. And I hope they rot in hell.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
Crime Stoppers of Oregon is also offering a cash reward.

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