• 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

  • Politics

    Citizen lobbyists frustrated by short-notice cancellation of session Thursday

    by Liz Raines on Apr 28, 21:04

    The Alaska House was supposed to take up an omnibus criminal justice reform bill, Senate Bill 91, in a floor session Thursday morning, but the meeting was cancelled with less than an hour’s notice. A House Majority Press Secretary said the latest version of the bill wasn’t finished being drafted after amendments were made in […]

  • News

    Construction worker remembered as one of dozens killed on the job in Alaska

    by Heather Hintze on Apr 28, 20:39

    More than two dozen workers in Alaska were killed on the job in 2015. On Thursday, people gathered at the Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial to honor those men and women for Workers Memorial Day. “All I can say is that I will never forget Samuel, and you and your family and I vow and our staff vows […]

  • News

    Citing dry conditions, AFD encourages free home inspection program

    by Eric Ruble on Apr 28, 20:24

    Captain Joe Albrecht has spent 38 years with the Anchorage Fire Department. He said this year’s fire danger is ”unprecedented,” especially on Anchorage’s hillside. “It’s a fact that sooner or later there’s going to be a large incident and there’s not much the Anchorage Fire Department is going to be able to do when it happens,” […]

  • Lifestyle

    Fewer U.S. teens are having babies; here’s why

    by CBS News on Apr 28, 18:39

    Birth rates among teens in the U.S. have dropped dramatically since 2006, according to a new report, and there are a lot of factors behind the trend, including a steep decline in births by black and Hispanic teens. Births to all American teenagers have plummeted by more than 40 percent, said Lisa Romero of the U.S. […]

  • Lifestyle

    Numbers don’t lie: Alaskans are crazy about their chickens

    by Carolyn Hall on Apr 28, 18:18

    A small tract of land can yield quite a crop for an ambitious backyard homesteader such as Mountain View resident Phil Cannon. His garden produces all the staples: carrots, potatoes, beets and lettuce. “We try to grow as much as we can for vegetables. This year we’re gonna let the kids grow their own sections […]

  • Politics

    Negotiators reach deal on excess power program earnings

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 17:21

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement for use of any excess earnings from a fund set up to help rural areas faced with high electricity costs. A conference committee Thursday agreed to legislation that would allow for 70 percent of excess earnings from the Power Cost Equalization endowment fund to […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Why the fiscal gap should be fixed now

    by John Tracy on Apr 28, 16:56

    Back in October, when I first began these commentaries, I said that lawmakers would be unlikely to levy an income tax, or use earnings from the Permanent Fund to help balance the budget. It didn’t take much of a crystal ball to make that prediction going into an election year, even though it was possible […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage man admits to stealing mail, credit cards from Hillside residents

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 28, 16:01

    An Anchorage man pleaded guilty to charges of mail theft and credit card fraud in federal court Wednesday, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Evan Mullen, 28, admitted to stealing mail and packages from multiple homes in Anchorage’s Hillside neighborhood from December 2015 until his arrest in February 2016. His main target […]