Thursday, July 10, 2014

Why the children.......?

"He came to this location yesterday afternoon-late-and came under the guise of a FedEx driver wearing a FedEx shirt," stated Constable Ron Hickman.

What happened in the 700 block of Leaflet in the Enchanted Oaks subdivision of Spring TX on July 9 2014 was horrible.  The crime itself was horrifying and the apparent lack of news coverage nationwide is incredible as well.  It began in the afternoon when Ronald Haskell knocked on the door of a relative's home and was told by a niece, that her parents were not home.

Haskell, wearing his FedEx shirt, left but returned again shortly to kick in the door and tied up the girl.  He was waiting for her parents, Stephen Stay, 39 and his wife Katie, 34, and the other children to return.  It has been reported that when the rest of the family returned at 7 pm, Haskell repeatedly demanded to know where his ex wife was.  His ex wife is Katie's sister, Melannie Lyonand it is unknown at this time as to why he was demanding to see her.

When he was told that she was not there or living there, Haskell lined up the family, had them lie down on the floor and shot them all execution style in the head.  When he left, five were dead and two other children were injured.  The fifteen year old girl pretended that she was dead and waited for Haskell to leave before calling police.  Both of the surviving children were rushed to the hospital but one did not survive.  The fifteen year old is still in the hospital with a fractured skull and is in critical condition.

She told police about the shooting in her home, who had done it and further reported to them that her ex-uncle Haskell had planned to drive over to her grandparents home next, to continue on his rampage.  Police quickly sent officers to intercept him and HCPD chased him for about 25 minutes until they cornered him in a cul-de-sac.

They now were faced with a stand-off when Haskell refused to give himself up.  Haskell put a gun to his head several times during the stand-off but never pulled the trigger.  He finally gave up around 10 pm and was taken into custody.  Officers on the scene describe Haskell as cool, relaxed and not agitated at all.

Five were dead at the scene, both of the adults, a 13 year old boy and two girls ages 9 and 7.  The 15 year old daughter and a 4 year old boy were rushed to the hospital where the boy died.  The neighbors describe the family who had moved to the neighborhood a year ago as a sweet Mormon family and their children were very shy.  Officials for FedEx have stated that Haskell did work for them in some capacity in the past but he had not been doing so since January.  They have also offered their condolences to the surviving family members.

Whatever his reason for showing up at that house does not excuse why he felt the need to shoot 5 children.  I am sure that the children did nothing to him personally that he would need to execute them.  Oddly, while the news stations lately are usually all over any kind of shooting involving children, they are not providing the hours of coverage I have seen in recent months for other stories.  I haven't seen the renewed on air debates involving gun control.  Worst of all............ why nothing about how tragic it is to lose so many children in what may reveal itself as a personal beef between ex's.

*** Update July 10 2014:

It has been reported that Haskell's ex wife and children had recently traveled to the Houston area and he had been seeking her when the shootings began.

More has been released about Haskell as well........

He and his wife had finalized their divorce earlier this year and on July 8 2013, a protective order was filed in Cache County Court, UT by Mrs Haskell.  He had been arrested in June 2013 for domestic assault and domestic assault in front of a child. He was allowed supervised visits with his children after that.  In October 2013, police responded to a complaint that he had showed up at the children's school and both of the Haskell's entered into a mutual into a mutual restraining order as part of the divorce.  Ms Haskell was given primary custody of the children and Haskell was allowed supervised visits until such time as he was deemed not to be a threat to the children.  He also had agreed to pay $773 a month in child support.

Haskell had previously worked as a FedEx driver in Logan UT and had been contracted to them through Klien P&D Inc.  He was listed on the company website as being a top finisher in the 2013 Utah State Truck Driving Championship.  FedEx has stated that he currently is not employed by them.

*** Update July 11 2014:

Police have released all the names:  Stephen Stay, 39, his wife Katie, 34, their children Bryan, 13, Emily, 9, Rebecca, 7 and Zach, 4 all died at the hand of Haskell.  Cassidy, 15, is expected to make a full recovery and has been called a hero for calling 911.

More details have emerged about Haskell and why he was in Spring.  The Stay's had returned to Utah last year and brought his ex wife Melannie and children back to Texas with them to put distance between the couple during the divorce.  Last month, California issued a restraining order against him after he duct-taped his mother, Karla Haskell, to a chair and choked her because she had spoken to Melannie.

Cassidy told police that Haskell had shot the family after her parents refused to tell Haskell where Melannie and their children were staying.  He then planned to go to the Lyon's home in search of her there.  It has been reported that Haskell hated Stephen and Katie because they had brought Melannie to Houston to escape him.  He has been described as a troubled man who had been raised in a loving home but had become very bitter in recent years.

*** Update July 11 2014:

Mass shooter Ronald Haskell collapsed in the courtroom today during a morning probable cause reading.  It is reported that he had appeared wooden until the reading of the events got to the shooting.  He collapsed then, was helped to his feet by officers and collapsed again.  He was taken from the courtroom in a wheelchair but later returned to have the judge set Aug 14 for his arraignment.  The prosecutors claim that his actions were calculated and planned and they are seeking a grand jury capital murder indictment.

Haskell's court appointed attorney, Doug Durham, states that Haskell has a mental illness, wasn't fully aware of what he did and the shooting was a result of insanity triggered by the divorce and being off his medications.  He goes on to state that he doesn't believe that Haskell understands right from wrong or what is reality.

The prosecution doesn't believe that statement at all.  They believe that he knew what he was doing and he fainted in court because he realizes now that there are very serious consequences for his actions.  They have not yet determined if he will face the death penalty along with the charges they are seeking.

*** Update July 13 2014:

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times,if one only remembers to turn on the light," stated Cassidy Stay from J K Rowlings "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Cassidy, the lone survivor of the Stay family, spoke at a public memorial on Saturday.  She thanked the doctors, nurses and first responders that helped her and stated that she is on the road to recovery.  Her grandfather Roger Lyon spoke about his daughter Katie and the grandchildren, how much they will be missed and how brave Cassidy was to do what she had done.  He added that her actions saved the lives of 20 other family members.

Haskell and his wife married in 2002 in Orange County CA and were separated in June 2013.  At that time, they were given joint custody of the children but the primary custody went to Melannie as well as the house worth $190,000.  It is located in the small town of Smithfield UT just outside of Logan.  At the time of the divorce, Haskell was listed as making $2,300 a month, from which the judge ordered him to pay $773 a month to support the four children ranging from age 3 to 11.

There will certainly be much more to this case......... what did trigger Haskell on such a murderous path and a family will have to find a way to heal and move on.

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