Update: Former Utahn accused in Houston murders collapses in court

UPDATE: The former Utah man accused of killing four children and two adults in Houston collapsed during his first court appearance Friday.

Officials said he had to be wheeled out of the courtroom.

He later returned and the judge set his arraignment for Aug. 14.

Ron Lee Haskell, former Logan resident, is now facing multiple capital murder charges and is being held without bond.

Houston’s KHOU reported Haskell’s court-appointed attorney said his client has a mental illness and isn’t fully aware of his actions.

Police in Logan said officers responded to a domestic violence complaint in June 2008 in which Melannie Haskell accused her husband of dragging her by the hair and hitting her in the head in front of their children.

Ron Haskell was subsequently charged with domestic assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child.

Those charges were eventually dropped after a plea deal was reached.

Utah police said Melannie Haskell in August of 2013 reported a protective order violation in which she alleged Ron Haskell threatened her and her lawyer.

She alleged another such violation that October, saying that he had shown up at one of their children’s elementary schools.

As police noted, “neither protective order violation was prosecuted.”

The October 2013 incident was the last time Utah authorities contacted either Ron or Melannie Haskell.

HOUSTON, Texas – A man shot and killed four children and two adults, at least some of whom might have been his estranged wife’s relatives, at a Houston-area home Wednesday, authorities said.

A seventh person, a 15-year-old girl, was critically wounded at the home in Spring, Texas, and taken to a local hospital.

Now Fox 13 has learned the suspect, Ron Lee Haskell, has a Utah connection, he used to live in Logan.

Authorities said he has a criminal history in our state.

He was incarcerated in the Cache County jail in 2008 for assault and child abuse or neglect, according to deputies.

According to a press release from the Logan Police Department, since that booking Haskell had “multiple involvements with Logan City Police Department and had a protective order served on him by Cache County Sheriff’s Deputies on July 9, 2013.”

Wednesday Haskell was arrested after a three-hour standoff that followed a short chase with sheriff’s deputies in Texas.

Haskell, 34, is being held on charges of capital murder, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman said.

Killed were Stephen Stay, 39; Katie Stay, 33; two boys, ages 13 and 4; and two girls, ages 9 and 7, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said.

“I’ve not personally in 40 years seen a tragedy in one family that’s this horrific,” Hickman told reporters Thursday morning.

Officials: Suspect was prepared to take more lives

Haskell, apparently posing as a parcel delivery driver late Wednesday afternoon, entered the home of one of his estranged wife’s relatives while only the children were there, Hickman said.

Wearing a purple “Fed-Ex-looking shirt,” the suspect “gathered up the children” and waited for the two adults to arrive, he said.

Haskell was not the slain children’s father, as police had mistakenly asserted earlier, Hickman said.

Haskell used to drive for a service that had a contract with FedEx, but not since January, FedEx spokeswoman Erin Truxal said.

Investigators didn’t immediately know what led to the shooting; Hickman described it as a “domestic situation.”

Authorities believe the suspect was prepared to take the lives of other relatives who lived nearby.

As the gunman left, one of the victims called police and notified “us of the location that she believed that he may go from there,” Hickman said.

“Grandparents were also targets of him,” Harris County Sheriff’s Sgt. Thomas Gilliland said. “Fortunately, they were brought out of the house before that could happen, (or) we would have had more tragedy.”

Hours-long standoff

Haskell approached the second home and saw officers there; he drove away and the officers pursued him, Hickman said.

Police trapped Haskell in a cul-de-sac, and he surrendered after about three hours, having had discussions with negotiators, Hickman and Gilliland said.

During much of the standoff, Haskell held a gun to his head, while deputies surrounded him with their weapons drawn, police said.

Haskell has children with his estranged wife, but those children were not believed to have been in the Spring-area home where the shootings happened, Hickman said. The estranged wife lives out of state, police said.

Haskell is expected to make his first court appearance Friday at 9 a.m., the county clerk’s office said.

Spring is about 20 miles north of Houston.

CNN’s Dave Alsup, John Branch and Marlena Baldacci contributed to this report.

 

 

11 comments

    • Bob

      If you have a problem with the Second Amendment work to get it repealed. In the meantime in two recent rulings the US Supreme Court got it right.

    • kartmann

      Repeal the Second Amendment? The premise of the Bill of Rights is that it’s a list of some (but not all) of the rights that are inherent in all human beings from birth. They can no more “repeal” your right to keep an bear arms than they can “repeal” your basic humanity. They can usurp your right. Interfere with your right. Kill you for exercising your right. But the right survives.

  • kleem

    Just because he had a gun , does Not mean he got it legally. Most people who commit such crimes know where to go to buy the guns illegal. Just like junkies know where go to buy meth, heroin, or cocaine. Drugs are not legal , yet enough people get addicted to them. So don’t try to blame the gun laws. Most legal gun owners are responsible lawful citizens .

  • no five oh

    He should have been taken out in a body bag. He needs to be tied up and shot in the back of his head.

  • lynnea1

    It angers me to hear them use the ‘mentally ill’ defense right off the bat like that! If he was capable of devising a plan and carrying it out, like he obviously did, then he knew the difference in right & wrong. He also negotiated with the cops successfully or he’d be dead by now.

    • Bob

      Poor Bubba. He never got the message. On June 27, 2005 The US Supreme Court ruled that police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.

  • Bob

    Never could quite understand what good a restraining order is if it isn’t enforced? Along with our right to life the Founding Fathers gave us the means where by to enforce that right; It’s called the Second Amendment.

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