How This Teen Survived When Her Uncle Killed Her Whole Family
Ronald Haskell is on trial for allegedly killing his ex-wife's sister, her husband and four of their five kids.
The uncle accused of executing six members of his family faced a judge Monday in Texas.
Ronald Haskell, 39, was clean-shaven and wearing a suit and tie as his murder trial got underway in Houston. It's a far cry from the way he looked when he appeared in court in 2014 and collapsed.
Prosecutors say in July 2014, Haskell wanted revenge for his recent divorce. He allegedly stole a gun and went to the home of his ex-wife's sister, where, authorities say, he tied up the sister, her husband and their five children and made them lie on the floor.
The mother, Katie Stay, was first to die, trying to protect her children, according to the prosecutor. Then, Haskell allegedly shot the husband and eventually turned his attention to the 15-year-old daughter, Cassidy.
“Cassidy, seeing this horror unfold, can't believe her eyes and in instinct puts her hands over her head and buries her head in the ground. And she is screaming. And she gets hit in the head,” the prosecutor said.
But Cassidy was only grazed. The prosecutor described how the teenager had to listen to the rest of her family being slaughtered.
“She can hear the shooting continue down the line,” the prosecutor said.
Cassidy played dead until her uncle left.
Haskell was intercepted as he headed for his former in-laws' house, allegedly to continue killing.
His attorney says Haskell struggled with depression his whole life and "spiraled down into severe mental illness" after his wife left him. In his psychotic state, the lawyer says, Haskell heard a voice in his head named Joseph, telling him to wipe out the Stay family.
“Joseph tells him, ‘You gotta go kill them, you gotta kill Katie,’” his lawyer claims.
Haskell faces multiple counts of capital murder in the case and has pleaded not guilty. The trial is expected to last two months.
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