• 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

  • Sports

    Low snow totals causes havoc again with Iditarod start

    by Associated Press on Feb 10, 17:09

    Another low snow year in Alaska is playing havoc with the world’s most famous sled dog race, at least for the start. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race always begins with a ceremonial, fan-friendly start through the streets and trails of Anchorage. But this year, the race’s chief executive officer says he’s worried there won’t […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage police arrest man in connection with 3 recent robberies

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 10, 16:53

    A 24-year-old man originally arrested on January 29 for attempting to rob a woman in a Sam’s Club parking lot was charged in connection with two additional robberies, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Original Arrest On Jan. 29, Gaythel Graves, allegedly held a woman at gunpoint in an Anchorage Sam’s Club parking […]

  • Politics

    Justice addresses lawmakers with cost-saving reforms for Alaska court system

    by Liz Raines on Feb 10, 15:33

    Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, Craig Stowers, spoke to the Alaska House and Senate in the annual State of the Judiciary address Wednesday, acknowledging the state’s unprecedented budget shortfall and offering savings within the court system. “I think it’s important that the court system be a good soldier and a good team player […]

  • DayBreak

    Workforce Wednesday: Careers in Logistics

    by Daybreak Staff on Feb 10, 14:17

    In Alaska, logistics is more than just working for FedEx or UPS. It means everything from food to fuel, cars and clothes coming through the Port of Anchorage. More than 85 percent of all Alaskans receive goods through the port. In short, logistics is the art and science of time, space and location. Jana Lage, […]

  • DayBreak

    UAA Planetarium’s Stars of the Alaskan Sky: Valentine’s Day edition

    by Daybreak Staff on Feb 10, 14:06

    It’s star gazing without the chill factor of Alaska in February and could be the perfect date idea for Valentine’s Day weekend. This Friday, Stars of the Alaskan Sky: Valentine’s Day edition will kick off at the planetarium on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. Omega Smith, UAA Planetarium Manager, joined Daybreak on Wednesday to talk about […]

  • News

    Police-involved shooting ends in death of Barrow fire chief

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 10, 12:35

    A North Slope Borough police officer was involved in a shooting early Wednesday morning resulting in the death of a 36-year-old Barrow man. Just after 3:30 a.m., the officer responded to a call for assistance on the 7400 block of North Star Street in Barrow. While responding, a shooting occurred that resulted in the death […]

  • News

    Wrangell doctor sentenced in child pornography case

    by Associated Press on Feb 10, 10:27

    A Wrangell doctor convicted of receiving and distributing child pornography has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. The U.S. Department of Justice says 54-year-old Greg Alan Salard was sentenced Tuesday and fined $25,000 by U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess. Salard after a six-day trial in Juneau was convicted […]

  • News

    UPDATE: Mail carrier alerts sleeping homeowner to fire, calls 911

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 10, 10:14

    Updated at 12:05 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10 An Anchorage mail carrier is to thank for calling 911 and alerting a homeowner to a fire Wednesday morning, potentially saving his life. Kermit Arroyo told KTVA that he heard three explosions and saw flames shooting from the residence. He called 911 and ran to the house […]