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Slain boy struck with toilet tank lid
The Erie Morning News By Kevin Flowers - September 8, 1999

Kentucky authorities say the former Erie-area boy beaten to death in an Owensboro, Ky., hotel room over the weekend was repeatedly struck with the porcelain top of a toilet tank and the legs of chairs.

Kentucky Commonwealth Attorney Jay Wethington told the Owensboro, Ky., Messenger-Inquirer newspaper that the man accused of attacking the youth and his brother, 8-year-old Brandon Hakola, will be arraigned Wednesday on a charge of murder and a charge of attempted murder.

Authorities claim Barry Lynn Havener, 40, attacked the boys about 11 a.m. Sunday in a room on the 10th floor of the Tower Knights Inn on Triplett Street in Owensboro. According to police, Havener did not know the boys or their mother, and a motive for the attack remained unclear Tuesday.

The Hakola family moved to Kentucky from the Erie area a few years ago, according to Paulette Hagg of Erie, who watched the boys throughout the summer.

The children's father, Christopher Hakola, lives in Harborcreek. He and his wife, Patricia Hakola, are separated.

The boys stayed with their mother in Kentucky, but spent summers in Harborcreek with their father, who returned to the Erie area after he and his wife separated, Hagg said.

Brandon Hakola remained in stable condition Tuesday in the intensive care unit of Owensboro Mercy Health System, according to the hospital.

Mary Havener, the defendant's mother, told the Kentucky newspaper that she had tried for years to get help for her son, who she claimed is schizophrenic and suffers from a chemical imbalance. Her son also has a criminal record for theft, she said.

Barry Havener is being held in a Kentucky detention center, authorities said.

Patricia Hakola was not in the motel at the time of the beatings, Wethington said. He said she was at a mobile home cleaning it in preparation for moving her family. The children had been left with a babysitter, Wethington said.

Authorities said a maid discovered the Hakola boys in the room about 11:55 a.m.Sunday and went to notify authorities. The maid returned to the room a short while later and saw Havener trying to reenter the room, Wethington said.

The maid told police Havener had blood on his hands and,when he saw her he ran.

Police arrested Havener in the hotel's lobby.

Wethington also told the newspaper there was "blood all over" the toilet tank lid and chair legs found in the room. Owensboro police have said that Havener has confessed to attacking the boys.

Daviess County, Ky., Coroner Bob Howe said Christopher Hakola died of trauma with multiple head fractures, apparently inflicted by a blunt instrument.

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