Thursday, January 29, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Gunman demanded to know ex-wife’s whereabouts

By
From page A6 | July 11, 2014 |

SPRING, Texas — A man charged with killing four children and their parents forced his way into the family’s suburban Houston home, tied them up and shot them in the back of the head when they refused to tell him where his ex-wife was, authorities said Thursday.

The lone survivor of the attack, the slain couple’s 15-year-old daughter, suffered a fractured skull when a bullet grazed her head. She played dead and called 911 after Ronald Lee Haskell left the house, prosecutors revealed at a court hearing.

A day after the slayings, investigators slowly built a picture of Haskell, who was the couple’s estranged brother-in-law.

The 33-year-old man is accused of killing his ex-wife’s sister, Katie Stay, and her husband and the children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, after binding them and putting the family face-down on the floor of their home.

Haskell had a handful of previous run-ins with law enforcement in Utah, where he had lived with his wife. Neighbors said Haskell’s marriage was so rocky that Stay went to Utah last fall to help her sister escape the relationship and start a new life in Texas.

Stay “was very instrumental in helping her sister get here so she could have a fresh start. Katie’s a spitfire. She has energy to stand up for what she believes is right and true,” said Verena Beckstrand, a neighbor who choked back tears as she talked about the family.

Haskell had previously been jailed in 2008 in Logan, about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City, on charges of assault and domestic violence. His wife told police he dragged her by her hair and struck her in the head in front of their children.

Those charges were later dismissed as part of a plea deal, according to information released Thursday by Logan authorities.

Haskell was also served last year with a protective order from his ex-wife. It was dismissed in October after the couple filed for divorce, online court records show.

By Thursday morning, a small memorial with three candles and a plant had been set up at the front door of the family’s two-story white-brick and brown wood-trimmed home. A couple with a child left a framed photo of the family with the inscription “Faith, Hope, Love.”

“I don’t think any of us will ever be able to see that house the same again,” said Viri Palacios, who lives across the street. “I just want the word to get out they were a really, really good family.”

The father, Stephen Stay, was a real estate broker. The mother was a helpful presence around the neighborhood, planning Halloween and Christmas parties for children, Palacios said.

A few blocks from the home at Lemm Elementary School, Principal Kathy Brown tied multi-colored ribbons around trees in front of the building and encouraged parents to do the same.

“It’s to have positive bright thoughts about the family,” Brown said, noting that two of the slain children had attended school there and a third had graduated from Lemm.

Documents from Thursday’s preliminary court hearing show that the daughter who survived attempted to close the door after telling Haskell her parents were not home. But he kicked it in. The teen remained in critical condition in a Houston hospital.

In a statement, issued Thursday through the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Katie Stay’s father, Roger Lyon, said his 15-year-old granddaughter “is expected to make a full recovery.”

When the badly wounded daughter contacted authorities, she told them the gunman was planning to shoot other relatives, Hickman said. Police located Haskell’s car, and took him into custody after a three-hour standoff.

“We are grateful for this miracle,” Lyon said in his statement. “We are in awe of her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives. She is our hero.”

Haskell was wearing a FedEx shirt at the time of the attack, but authorities seemed uncertain whether it was a deliberate attempt to deceive.

Harris County Constable Ron Hickman initially said Haskell showed up at the Stay home “in the guise of a FedEx driver.”

But he and other officials later declined to say whether Haskell used the uniform to gain access to the home. Hickman said investigators were not sure whether the suspect would have needed a disguise to get in the house, or if the children knew him.

Haskell had once done work for FedEx but not since January, the company said in a statement.

Online jail records did not list an attorney for Haskell, who was initially misidentified by authorities as the slain children’s father. Police did not explain the mistake.

A divorce decree issued in February shows Haskell and Melanie Kaye Haskell were married in 2002 in Orange County, California. They separated in June 2013.

A judge granted joint custody of the couple’s four children, ranging in age from 3 to 11, with Haskell’s wife getting primary custody.

At the time of the divorce, Haskell was making $2,300 a month, although the records do not say what kind of work he did. He was ordered to pay $773 per month in child support. His wife was given the house, valued at $190,000, in the small town of Smithfield, Utah, just outside Logan.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
1st release for birds with mysterious goo a success

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Vacaville police seek help to find sex offender

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Sweep by sheriff’s team nets 4 arrests

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 3 Comments

 
 
Travis starts work on Functional Fitness Center

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Boy Scouts to screen award-winning film

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Church makes ready for health, wellness fair

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

4-H Annual Presentation Day returns in February

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville SWAT team serves search warrant

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

Real estate occupancy continues to climb

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
 
Council backs beer, wine sales for Vacaville store

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Suisun City police log: Jan. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

 
Air Force probing alleged ‘treason’ remark by general

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Expect tiny tuxes but no real puppy love at doggy weddings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Violations mount for toxic recycler

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Quake rattles N. California coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Second arrest in student stabbing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Large salmon release planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Marshals track down missing treasure hunter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

‘Drunk’ excuse falls flat in Vandy rape trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Attorney General nominee defends Obama immigration changes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

Police seek law to alter Google app

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Euro coast guards scramble to locate Syrian ghost ship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Chinese regulators go after online sale of fake goods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Investigation stems from police-involved shooting outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hezbollah missiles kill soldiers

By New York Times | From Page: A6

 
ISIS extends hostage deadline

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Tape: Scientist offers to build nuke bomb targeting New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

A truly misinformed writer

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 17 Comments

 
India now has 322 billion reasons to fix economy

By William Pesek | From Page: A7

Don’t brush off bullying

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 29, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Just be honest and come forward

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 29, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Deadbeat boyfriend ruined my relationship with my granddaughter

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscope Jan. 29, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Theater legend Joel Grey reveals that he is gay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 2 Comments

 
Super Bowl advertisers aim not to offend

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

.

Sports

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins hoping to make All-Star team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Rodriguez wrestlers pull out 34-24 win over Wood

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Solano men cruise past LMC for biggest win of season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

NFL players who started young show more thinking problems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
GM John Schneider has been architect of Seahawks’ success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Patriots not dwelling on last Super Bowl loss in Arizona

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Woods returns to Phoenix with plenty of memories

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tony Stewart acquires national sprint car series tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Korda, Lewis, Munoz tied for lead at LPGA season opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Head of NCAA enforcement: Academic misconduct on rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Chicago Cubs’ Ernie Banks statue moved downtown for tribute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kobe Bryant has surgery, expected to be out for 9 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 29, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9