Alleged killer of ex-wife's family collapses in the courtroom
THE man accused of killing six members of his ex-wife's family, including four children, after forcing his way into their suburban Houston home, collapsed in court twice yesterday as a prosecutor read out details of the crime.
A shackled Ronald Lee Haskell was standing before a state district judge during a probable cause hearing when he fell to the ground.
Deputies lifted him to his feet and the 33-year-old Mr Haskell stood for about another minute before collapsing again. He was then lifted into a chair and wheeled from the courtroom.
He tied up the family and put them face down on the floor before shooting each in the back of the head, according to investigators.
The family had refused to say where Mr Haskell could find his ex-wife.
"His face, he obviously lost blood in his face and his knees buckled," said Mr Haskell's attorney, Doug Durham. "He's scared. I think he has a limited mental capacity of what's going on."
Before the collapses, Mr Haskell had acknowledged with a quiet "Yes" a couple of questions put to him by State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis about his legal rights.
He ordered Mr Haskell held without bond. "Maybe reality is finally setting in," said Tammy Thomas, the lead Harris County assistant district attorney in the case. "It's not television, this is not fiction. He is facing his consequences."
Ms Thomas said she expected a grand jury to issue a capital murder indictment as a result of the fatal shootings of Stephen and Katie Stay and four of their children, aged from four to 14.
Authorities have said Mr Haskell was searching for his ex-wife, Katie Stay's sister, when he came to the home in the Houston suburb of Spring. The couple's 15-year-old daughter survived by playing dead after she was shot and told police Mr Haskell was planning to shoot other relatives, according to court documents.
She suffered a fractured skull when a bullet grazed her head. but was able to call 911 and provide Mr Haskell's identity. Police located Mr Haskell's car.