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Wagoner County Jailer Arrested In July Escape Of Two Inmates

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Booking photo of William Hagen Jr. Booking photo of William Hagen Jr.
WAGONER COUNTY, Oklahoma -

As a result of an investigation into the July escape of two inmates from the Wagoner County jail, Sheriff Bob Colbert says his office has arrested one of his jailers.

Larry Cotton, 35, and Mickey Staggs, 38, escaped from the jail on July 29. Both were recaptured the next day.

7/30/2013 Related Story: Both Escapees From Wagoner County Jail Back In Custody

Wagoner County Sheriff's deputies arrested William Hagen Jr., 22, Friday on a complaint of officer allowing escape at his home in the Toppers area.

Nancy Day, William Hagen Jr.' says her nephew is a good man, who loved his job, and never meant for the escape to happen. 

Wagoner Country Sheriff Bob Colbert says they were concerned with Hagen's story from the beginning. 

William Hagen told investigators he was overpowered, choked and locked inside the cell after his keys were taken during the escape. 

"It just took him totally by surprise," said Nancy Day. 

Nancy Day said her nephew had aspirations of becoming a sheriff's deputy one day. 

 "I wish this would have never happened, because he's such an honest and decent kid," said Nancy Day. 

It's Hagen's account of the events surrounding the escape that led to his arrest. 

"It's a sad day when you have to arrest one of your own.  It just didn't add up, there were no injuries," said Sheriff Bob Colbert.

According to a court affidavit, one of the inmates specifically asked for Hagen's help with an overflowing toilet in his cell.

Hagen told investigators he was the only one on staff with keys to the doors that night. 

 "It was suspicious on our part from the very beginning," said Sheriff Bob Colbert. 

Hagen went on to say he noticed that Larry Cotton, who investigators think headed the escape, wasn't wearing the normal striped jail jumpsuit.  Hagen says he feared for his life, but entered the cell anyway. 

Hagen also admitted doing it without backup from another jail employee, which is required by state law. 

"Took everybody's live in danger in this courthouse, and in this city and county," said Sheriff Bob Colbert.

"They were also short staffed, there was one guy in the tower, one in booking and Billy," said Nancy Day. 

Sheriff Colbert says the investigation didn't show Hagen had a personal connection with the two men. 

"You can't befriend them and he crossed that line," said Sheriff Bob Colbert. 

Hagen's aunt says she doesn't believe rumors that Hagen received $2,000 for participating in the escape. 

"He thought I'll run up there and take care of this real quick, it ended up costing him," said Nancy Day. 

The Wagoner County Sheriff's office says it has polygraphed other jail employees to see if they were involved in the escape.  It also says since the escape, additional staff has been added.  

Hagen is in jail at an undisclosed location on a $25,000 bond. He has a court appearance on September 9. 

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