Wednesday 28 September 2016

Man accused of murder of six children 'told investigators he restrained them with metal handcuffs and shot them in the head'

David Conley allegedly engaged police in a shootout at the house near Houston

Raf Sanchez

Published 10/08/2015 | 07:15

CORRECTS TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO THE NUMBER OF ADULTS AND CHILDREN. INITIAL POLICE REPORT OF THREE ADULTS AND FIVE CHILDREN WAS INCORRECT - Harris County Sheriff's Department Sgt. D.J. Hilborn, right, walks away from the scene of a multiple shooting Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Houston. Eight people were found dead inside a home following the arrest of David Conley, who exchanged gunfire with police, Texas authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
CORRECTS TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO THE NUMBER OF ADULTS AND CHILDREN. INITIAL POLICE REPORT OF THREE ADULTS AND FIVE CHILDREN WAS INCORRECT - Harris County Sheriff's Department Sgt. D.J. Hilborn, right, walks away from the scene of a multiple shooting Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Houston. Eight people were found dead inside a home following the arrest of David Conley, who exchanged gunfire with police, Texas authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
CORRECTS TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO THE NUMBER OF ADULTS AND CHILDREN. INITIAL POLICE REPORT OF THREE ADULTS AND FIVE CHILDREN WAS INCORRECT - A member of the Harris County Sheriff's Department raises the crime scene tape for a vehicle outside the scene of shooting Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Houston. Eight people were found dead inside a home following the arrest of David Conley, who exchanged gunfire with police, Texas authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
CORRECTS TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO THE NUMBER OF ADULTS AND CHILDREN. INITIAL POLICE REPORT OF THREE ADULTS AND FIVE CHILDREN WAS INCORRECT - Harris County Sheriff's Department Sgt. D.J. Hilborn, left, escorts a family back to their home near the scene of a multiple shooting Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Houston. Eight people were found dead inside a home following the arrest of David Conley, who exchanged gunfire with police, Texas authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
This booking photo provided by the Harris County Sheriffs office shows 48-year-old David Conley. Authorities on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015 said Conley, who has a violent criminal history, restrained and fatally shot in the head eight people, including children, at a Houston home where he had previously lived. (Harris County Sheriff's Office via AP)
CORRECTS TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO THE NUMBER OF ADULTS AND CHILDREN. INITIAL POLICE REPORT OF THREE ADULTS AND FIVE CHILDREN WAS INCORRECT - Members of the Harris County Sheriff's department work outside the scene of a shooting Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Houston. Eight people were found dead inside the home following the arrest of David Conley, who exchanged gunfire with police, Texas authorities said Sunday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A man who engaged police in a shootout at a Texas home has been charged with murder after the bodies of six children and two adults were found handcuffed inside the property.

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David Conley, 49, surrendered after opening fire on police trying to conduct a welfare check at a house in the Houston area.

Officers spotted the body of a child through the window when they approached the house but when they tried to force entry, Conley allegedly opened fire.

Around a tense hour-long standoff he surrendered and police were able to enter the house where they found the bodies of six children and two adults.

The dead were identified as Dewayne Jackson, 50, his wife Valerie Jackson, 40, and children Nathaniel, 13, Dewayne, 10, Honesty, 11, Caleb, nine, Trinity, seven, and Jonah, six.

Nathaniel was believed to be the son of Mr Conley, 48, and Valerie Jackson from a previous relationship.

Conley told investigators that he restrained eight people inside with metal handcuffs, including Jackson and shot them in the back of the head.

He has been charged with capital murder, which could lead to the death penalty if he is convicted.

Deputies were called to the home about 9pm on Saturday to perform the welfare check, Harris County Sheriff spokesman Thomas Gilliland told KHOU-TV. Gilliland said deputies later received information indicating that a man inside the home was wanted on a warrant for aggravated assault on a family member.

Gilliland said while waiting for a High Risk Operations Unit to arrive, deputies spotted the body of a juvenile through a window. Four deputies forced their way into the home, prompting the suspect inside to begin shooting. Deputies pulled back and waited for the operations unit to arrive. The man surrendered about an hour later.

Court records show Conley's criminal history dates back to at least 1988, with the most recent incident last month, when was charged with assault of a family member. In court documents, authorities say the suspect had been arrested for allegedly assaulting the woman he was living with at the home where the bodies were found. Documents say he was in a dating relationship with the woman.

 Court documents said Conley pushed the woman's head against a refrigerator multiple times after she tried to stop him from disciplining her son with a belt. The case was still pending.

In 2013, he was charged with aggravated assault for threatening the same woman with a knife. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine months in the county jail.

In 2000, he was arrested for retaliation, accused of putting a knife to his then-girlfriend, threatening to kill her, her baby and himself. That came after she filed an assault charge against him for cutting her with a knife and punching her in the face. He was sentenced to five years in prison for retaliation.

The area around the home was still cordoned off Sunday morning, with sheriff's deputies coming in and out of the house and the medical examiner's office having arrived at the scene. By late Sunday morning, authorities had begun removing bodies from the home.

Neighbour Dalila Mercado says when she arrived home Saturday night officers had already blocked off the area. She said she was sitting in her driveway when she heard gunshots coming from the house and officials then told her and her family to go inside their home.

Mercado said she could still see from her bedroom window and watched as a man was escorted out of the house after midnight. She said officials then had him next to her fence, taking fingerprints and photographs.

"It was shocking. I haven't slept all night," she said.

Mercado says she didn't know the residents of the house well, but would occasionally say hello to a woman and see children waiting to catch the school bus. She said she didn't recognise the man taken out of the house.

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