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Texas shooting suspect had faced other charges

SPRING, Texas (AP) -- A man charged with killing six members of his ex-wife's family, including four children, was the subject of a restraining order obtained by his own mother less than a week before the attack and faced previous allegations of domestic violence, authorities said.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, is accused of killing his ex-wife's sister, Katie Stay, her husband and the children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, after binding and putting them face-down on the floor of their suburban Houston home. Each was shot in the back of the head after the family refused to tell Haskell where he could find his ex-wife, officials said.

The lone survivor of the Wednesday attack, the slain couple's 15-year-old daughter, suffered a fractured skull when a bullet grazed her head.

The San Diego County, California, sheriff's office said in a Thursday statement that Haskell's mother had reported an argument with her son July 2 at her home in San Marcos, California, during which Haskell physically restrained her when she tried to leave the house to call for help. Haskell finally left after a few hours, and his mother contacted 911, the statement says. She later obtained a restraining order against her son and the case remains under investigation, according to the statement.

Haskell also had a handful of previous run-ins with law enforcement in Utah, where he had lived with his wife. Neighbors said Haskell's marriage was so rocky that Stay went to Utah last fall to help her sister escape the relationship and start a new life in Texas.

Stay "was very instrumental in helping her sister get here so she could have a fresh start. Katie's a spitfire. She has energy to stand up for what she believes is right and true," said Verena Beckstrand, a neighbor who choked back tears as she talked about the family.

Documents presented at a preliminary court hearing for Haskell on Thursday say the daughter who survived the attack at the home in Spring attempted to close the door after telling Haskell her parents were not there, but he allegedly kicked it in. After the shootings, the teen played dead and called 911 when Haskell left the house, prosecutors said.

When the badly wounded daughter contacted authorities, she told them the gunman was planning to shoot other relatives, Harris County Constable Ron Hickman said. Police located Haskell's car and took him into custody after a three-hour standoff.

In a statement issued Thursday through the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Katie Stay's father, Roger Lyon, said his hospitalized granddaughter "is expected to make a full recovery."

"We are grateful for this miracle," Lyon said in his statement. "We are in awe of her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives. She is our hero."

By Thursday morning, a small memorial with three candles and a plant had been set up at the front door of the family's two-story white-brick and brown wood-trimmed home. A couple with a child left a framed photo of the family with the inscription "Faith, Hope, Love."

The father, Stephen Stay, was a real estate broker. The mother was a helpful presence around the neighborhood, planning Halloween and Christmas parties for children, said Viri Palacios, who lives across the street.

"I don't think any of us will ever be able to see that house the same again," Palacios said. "I just want the word to get out they were a really, really good family."

Online jail records did not list an attorney for Haskell, who initially was misidentified by authorities as the slain children's father. Officials did not explain the mistake Thursday.

Haskell was wearing a FedEx shirt at the time of the attack, but authorities seemed uncertain whether it was a deliberate attempt to deceive. Hickman said investigators were not sure whether the suspect would have needed a disguise to get in the house, or if the children knew him.

Haskell had once done work for FedEx but not since January, the company said in a statement.

Haskell was previously jailed in 2008 in Logan, Utah, about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City, on charges of assault and domestic violence. His wife told police he dragged her by her hair and struck her in the head in front of their children.

Those charges were later dismissed as part of a plea deal, according to information released Thursday by Logan authorities.

Haskell also was served last year with a protective order from his ex-wife. It was dismissed in October after the couple filed for divorce, online court records show.

A divorce decree issued in February shows Haskell and Melanie Kaye Haskell were married in 2002 in Orange County, California. They separated in June 2013. A judge granted joint custody of the couple's four children, ranging in age from 3 to 11, with Haskell's wife getting primary custody.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Doug July 11 2014 at 8:20 AM

Okay Texas....fry the bastard.

Flag Reply +22 rate up
3 replies
albatroll July 11 2014 at 7:12 AM

Gun whackos? Just a whacko. What if he had cut their heads off with a large knife or sword like the muslim whackos in the Middle East do? Guns do not kill, people do! This guy should have been in jail for his past crimes of domestic violence. Restraining orders are not worth the paper they are printed on.

Flag Reply +17 rate up
17 replies
Chucky1 July 11 2014 at 8:05 AM

Domestic violence should be taken more seriously by our legal system. If a person is arrested for domestic violence they should be "Baker Acted" and jailed until they complete a viable rehabilitation program. In addition, the victim should not be allowed to drop the charges. In doing so this gives the perpetrator the opportunity to do more harm.

Flag Reply +12 rate up
6 replies
dpaustex July 11 2014 at 7:02 AM

I am wondering when the gun-whackos will start training their own to simply off themselves, instead of going on these type of rampages. The epitome of cowardice. Nothing justfities the level of hate this sicko perpetrated on his ex. Nothing.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
21 replies
fred July 11 2014 at 7:18 AM

As if there is a shortage of sh*t for brains on this earth.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
George July 11 2014 at 10:06 AM

Well what do you know.....All the criminal liberal folks on this story in the beginning were blaming guns in Texas and Texas. Well as the media never gets the facts straight initially, this guys was from Utah and Cali.


Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
Marjorie June George July 11 2014 at 11:06 AM

They prefer to perpetuate lies

Flag Reply 0 rate up
tauraq1 George July 11 2014 at 3:47 PM

Well one thing for sure George, he is just another Caucasian who thinks a gun will make him a man.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
rolnutz tauraq1 July 12 2014 at 12:23 AM

The black population makes up 12.7% of the U S citizenship and they commit 49.3 % of all murders. What does that do to your logic?

Flag 0 rate up
jktkw July 11 2014 at 7:42 AM

take this pinhead OUT

Flag Reply +7 rate up
3 replies
hattie54 July 11 2014 at 8:01 AM

Who would want to marry that creepy looking guy in the first place?Fry him!!!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
Truwriter July 11 2014 at 9:56 AM

In reading comments here its clear that some think that guns are a problem because rednecks or white trash use them to commit these kinds of crime. But that flys in the face of mass shootings (or killings involving other weapons). The Aurora CO theater mass killer was a post grad student, the VA tech shooter was an Asian student, and there are endless numbers of shootings involving students and professors. In America we have to have a hate stereotype presented to us. This lard butt is just a coward, not some hero of the gun movement. People who use weapons or who kill their families or co workers are not generally "rednecks" but other types. We use the "redneck stereotype" becuase it is a Progressive buzzword and politicians and political marketers know that you must have near comic book quality images to lead the Progressive along the road of fascism. This guy has had numerous DV orders in hils life, he is a prohibited person from owning a gun. LE failed here.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
3 replies
ssantoresr July 11 2014 at 9:24 AM

Restraing order laws are just like gun laws. The bad guy isnt going to follow them. When will we wake up and just remove the problem. Some gene pools needs to be erased.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
4 replies
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