Sunday 27 May 2018

Five children, three adults found slain at Texas home

Harris County Sheriff's Department Sgt. D.J. Hilborn, right, walks away from the scene of a multiple shooting in Houston
Harris County Sheriff's Department Sgt. D.J. Hilborn, right, walks away from the scene of a multiple shooting in Houston

Juan A Lozano Houston

A man has been charged with murder after five children and three adults were found slain inside a home in Houston, Texas.

The man, named in court documents as David Conley, was said to have exchanged gunfire with police who arrived at the scene. He has been charged with three counts of capital murder.

The local sheriff's office said that the eight people were found slain after a welfare check was conducted at the home.

The suspect was taken into custody after members of the Harris County Sheriff's Office High Risk Operations Unit and Hostage Negotiation Team negotiated his surrender.

Court records show that one capital murder count against Conley covers multiple deaths. Another capital murder count is for a person under six years of age.

He was being held last night in the Harris County Jail.

Deputies were called to the home about 9pm on Saturday to perform the welfare check, Harris County Sheriff spokesman Thomas Gilliland said. 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.

The relationship between the suspect and victims wasn't immediately known. No further details were released.

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 yesterday morning, with sheriff's deputies coming in and out of the house and the medical examiner's office having arrived at the scene.

Neighbour Dalila Mercado says when she arrived home on 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. "It was shocking. I haven't slept all night," she said.

Irish Independent

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