Texas man accused of killing 6 collapses in court

Posted at 12:43 PM, Jul 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-11 12:43:31-04

(CNN) — Ron Lee Haskell, charged with capital murder in the deaths of six people, collapsed in a Texas courtroom during a Friday hearing.

Shackled and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, Haskell collapsed before a state district judge, reportedly as the charges he faced were read in open court. Haskell was buttressed by two law enforcement officials at the time. The officers held him for about 20 seconds before sitting him on the floor.

They then put him in a desk chair and wheeled him out of the courtroom. He returned later with the officers and stood before the judge, who set his arraignment for August 14.

On Thursday, CNN reported that Haskell’s estranged wife, Melannie, had taken out a protective order against him, well before police say he sought her out. After failing to find her, he killed four children and two adults, police say.

Haskell was arrested late Wednesday after a three-hour standoff at a home in Spring, Texas. In addition to the six killed, a seventh person — a 15-year-old girl — was critically wounded, though a relative indicated she is expected to make a full recovery.

They were all shot in a home belonging to relatives of Melannie Haskell.

On Thursday, police in Logan City, Utah, said officers responded to a domestic violence complaint in June 2008 in which Melannie Haskell accused her husband of dragging her by the hair and hitting her in the head in front of their children.

Ron Haskell was subsequently charged with domestic assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child. Those charges were eventually dropped after a plea deal was reached.

Utah police said Melannie Haskell in August of 2013 reported a protective order violation in which she alleged Ron Haskell threatened her and her lawyer. She alleged another such violation that October, saying that he had shown up at one of their children’s elementary schools.

As police noted, “neither protective order violation was prosecuted.”

The October 2013 incident was the last time Utah authorities contacted either Ron or Melannie Haskell.

Texas authorities said Ron Lee Haskell, 33, entered the Spring home demanding to know the whereabouts of his estranged wife, who was not there.

The house belonged to relatives of Haskell’s spouse, but Ron Lee Haskell’s relationship to everyone in the home wasn’t immediately clear, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman said.

Haskell is being held on charges of capital murder.

Those killed were Stephen Stay, 39; Katie Stay, 33; two boys, ages 13 and 4; and two girls, ages 9 and 7, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Roger Lyon, father of Katie Stay, credited the 15-year-old survivor for “her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives. She is our hero.”

Hickman said grandparents — including possibly Lyon and his wife — also were targeted by Haskell. Hickman said a victim called to notify police “of the location that she believed that he may go from there.”

Lyon said, “Stephen and Katie Stay and their beautiful children were an amazing and resilient family. They lived to help others, both at church and in their neighborhood. We love them beyond words.”