• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 9s

Accused Houston shooter had long history of domestic violence

By CBS News 5:17 PM July 10, 2014
SPRING, Texas –

Melanie Kaye Haskell fled Utah with her four children to get away from her violent ex-husband. Her sister helped her move to Texas, where they hoped the family would be safe.

Instead, police say, the ex-husband, Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, came looking for Melanie. When he couldn’t find her, he gunned down the sister, her husband and their five children, authorities say.

One of those children, 15-year-old Cassidy Stay, survived and played dead until the shooter had left her family’s home in Spring, a Houston suburb. She called authorities and was able to tell them who the shooter was and that he was looking for more family members, police said.

Court records obtained by CBS affiliate KHOU show that Haskell, 33, had a serious history of domestic violence during his 11-year marriage.

Before their divorce, Haskell, 33, lived with Melanie and their family in Logan, Utah. She filed charges after he allegedly beat her up in front of their children in 2008.

“She alleged that he had dragged her by her hair, out of the bedroom, and assaulted her, hitting her in the head,” Capt. Tyson Budge of the Logan City Police told KHOU.

“And then he did it again later in the evening. She was in the children’s room and he dragged her by her hair and hit her,” Budge said.

Ronald Haskell was arrested for simple assault and domestic violence in the presence of children.

He pleaded guilty in abeyance, which is a legal term allowing him to complete probation and later dismiss charges on his record.

But that wasn’t the end of the Haskells’ problems.

Melanie Haskell obtained a protective order against Ronald Haskell in October 2013, according to court records. Police said he violated it the very same day by going to their children’s school. But it was unclear whether he was actually served the order, and no charges were ever filed.

The following day, Budge said, Logan police received a call from Haskell’s brother, who said he was concerned about his whereabouts and well-being.

Ronald and Melanie Haskell’s divorce was finalized on Feb. 14– Valentine’s Day.

Ronald Haskell was allowed only supervised visitrs with his children.

“Until Respondent (Ronald Haskell) receives a psychological evaluation, and provides documentation from his evaluator, that he is mentally and emotionally stable enough to care for the children on his own, Respondent’s parent time shall be supervised,” the decree of divorce said.

The court document also spelled out terms of a restraining order that told both Ronald and Melanie to stay away from each other’s homes and not to commit or threaten to commit any form of violence against each other.

But Melanie Haskell apparently didn’t feel safe. Neighbors in Spring said her sister, Katie Stay, went to Utah last fall to help Melanie move with her children to Texas.

Katie 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,” neighbor Verena Beckstrand told The Associated Press.

When Ronald Haskell went looking for his ex-wife, he started at her sister’s house. But Melanie wasn’t living there, and Katie and her husband, Stephen Stay, refused to say where she was. That’s when, police say, Haskell shot the Stays and their five children, only one of whom survived.

“It’s horrific,” Budge, the Logan police captain, told KHOU.

“It’s hard to wrap my mind around it. So many people have been affected by this one man’s actions. I just can’t understand it,” he said.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Motorcyclist dies following crash near Portage Highway tunnel

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 07, 9:19

    A motorcyclist is dead following a crash Monday evening near the small tunnel at mile 5.5 of the Portage Highway, according to Alaska State Troopers. Troopers were notified of the crash involving a “lone motorcycle rider” at 5:11 p.m. Monday evening near the Begich-Boggs visitor center, according to AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen. The Portage Hwy. was […]

  • News

    Partial ice cave collapse in Washington turns deadly

    by CBS/AP on Jul 07, 7:14

    A partial ice cave collapse in northwest Washington state killed one person and injured four others Monday evening, a Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman said. Shari Ireton said late Monday night that the person who was killed remained buried under the debris at the popular Big Four Ice Caves east of Granite Falls. All victims were […]

  • News

    Chester Creek Greenbelt fire came close to Anchorage homes

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 06, 23:06

    Some people who live in the Rogers Park neighborhood may not know how lucky they are. Authorities say a fire started by homeless campers on Friday near Chester Creek Greenbelt Park could have easily spread to homes. Joanne Jenson, who lives in the area, was visiting Valdez when she heard her neighborhood was being evacuated. […]

  • News

    Special Olympics ‘Flame of Hope’ comes to Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 06, 21:57

    The “Flame of Hope” for the Special Olympics World Summer Games is making its way around the country with a stop in Anchorage on Monday. State and local law enforcement kicked off the unified relay around Anchorage. Alaska’s Sen. Dan Sullivan participated in the day’s events, lighting the torch in the official handoff for the […]

  • News

    Float plane flipped on Naknek Lake

    by Hannah Colton/KDLG on Jul 06, 21:02

    Three passengers and a pilot were rescued unharmed from a PA-22 float plane that flipped in Naknek Lake around 12:30 Sunday afternoon. The Piper was piloted by Mark Romo of Aleknagik. Katmai Chief Ranger Tom Betts says the plane landed on rough waters with strong winds from the east. “Generally on an east wind day […]

  • News

    Berkowitz writes to Secretary of the Army in effort to keep troops at JBER

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 06, 17:19

    As one of his “first official acts” as Anchorage’s new mayor, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wrote a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, emphasizing the importance of the Fourth Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division (4-25) to the city and state’s economic and strategic futures. Anchorage’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), where […]

  • News

    Human jawbone discovered at South Anchorage park

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 06, 15:33

    The Anchorage Police Department is investigating the discovery of a human jawbone found in South Anchorage on Sunday. Around 6:45 p.m., APD was contacted by a woman who claimed to have found a human jawbone in “a wood line at a park,” along the 9400 block of Brayton Drive. According to the woman, it was […]

  • News

    Firefighter Combat Challenge comes to Anchorage

    by Jacquie Slater on Jul 06, 14:53

    For the second time in its 25-year history, the Firefighter Combat Challenge made its way to Alaska as part of the Fourth of July festivities in Anchorage. Challenge founder Dr. Paul Davis first brought the challenge here for the 50th anniversary of statehood. This year, he says he brought it here to celebrate the city’s […]