Lone Survivor of Family Massacre Recalls Playing Dead: 'The Room Smelled Like Blood'

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Cassidy Stay, the lone survivor of a massacre that claimed the lives of her whole family, took the stand on Tuesday to testify against her uncle, Ronald Haskell. 

Haskell is accused of killing his ex-wife's sister, Katie Stay, her husband, Stephen Stay, and four of their children in Spring, Texas, 2014. Cassidy, then just 15, was shot in the head but managed to survive by playing dead. Haskell is charged with multiple counts of capital murder and has pleaded not guilty.

Now 20, Cassidy emotionally recalled laying there as her family was killed around her. 

"The room smelled like blood," said Cassidy. "It tasted sour. It felt heavy and hot. There was no spirit in that room."

In one particularly dramatic moment, she pointed out the alleged killer in court, while Haskell sat there stoically. 

Cassidy said her mother tried desperately to protect her children, wrestling with Haskell for the gun before he fatally shot her. 

He then allegedly killed Stephen before lining up the children and going down the line, shooting them one by one. 

"It was just 'boom, boom, boom, boom' all in a row," said Cassidy. 

The defense claims Haskell struggled with depression his whole life and "spiraled down into severe mental illness" after his wife, Katie's sister Melanie, left him. In his psychotic state, Haskell heard a voice in his head named Joseph, telling him to wipe out the Stay family.

But as she spoke Tuesday, Cassidy said it did not appear as though Haskell was listening to a voice. 

"I reminded him of all of our names and ages, telling him Zachary was only 4. I tried to talk with him and appeal to his humanity," Cassidy said. 

It didn't work.

The trial is expected to last two months.


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