• 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

  • Crime

    Police: Man shot, dropped off at hospital, dies

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 30, 8:16

    A man who was dropped off at an Anchorage hospital with a gunshot wound early Saturday morning has died, according to the Anchorage Police Department, who are treating the case as a homicide. An APD release states that just after 2:00 a.m. Saturday they were notified that a man had been left at the hospital […]

  • Lifestyle

    Still life meets real life, statue bearly makes it

    by Megan Edge on Jul 29, 21:29

    An Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) male brown bear, known as Joe Boxer, came across something kind of odd at his home along Turnagain Arm last weekend. It was another bear, but this one was covered with vibrant designs and painted berries. It wasn’t real. In late-June, 14 fiberglass bears, originally white, were brought to […]

  • News

    In the cockpit with the Blue Angels

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 19:43

    Watching from the ground, have you ever wondered what it feels like to be in the cockpit of one of the Blue Angels? KTVA 11’s Bonney Bowman flew in the Number 7 plane with pilot Lt. Tyler Davies, for whom flying was a lifelong dream. “My dad took me to an air show when I […]

  • News

    Youth volunteers paint mural on Wasilla tunnel to cover graffiti

    by Shannon Ballard on Jul 29, 19:24

    For years the Newcomb Park tunnel, just south of the Parks Highway in Wasilla, has been the target of vandals. The city has tried to clean up the graffiti plagued walls numerous times, but nothing seems to keep people from leaving their mark. Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle says he’s taking a new, more colorful approach. […]

  • Lifestyle

    How to reverse the health risks of sitting all day

    by CBS News on Jul 29, 17:35

    Sitting too much can take a serious toll on your health, even raise your risk of early death. But if you’re stuck in your chair at a desk job all day, don’t despair — a new study suggests there is something you can do to reverse the damage. It comes down to fitting in an hour of […]

  • News

    Driver killed in commercial truck rollover near Houston

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 16:38

    The driver of a commercial truck was killed when it rolled over near Houston Friday morning, according to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch. Thirty-six-year-old Alexander Dmitryev, of Trapper Creek, was the only one in the truck when the incident happened on the Parks Highway near Cheri Lake Drive, according to the dispatch. Troopers said he was wearing […]

  • Lifestyle

    Video: Man uses drone to pull out granddaughter’s loose tooth

    by Jason Sear on Jul 29, 16:16

    Combine the ingenuity of a grandfather and the creativity of 6-year-old, and almost anything is possible. When Avery Radke heard her grandfather, Terry Siegrist, would be visiting Anchorage, a light bulb went went on. Avery asked her ‘papa’ to bring his drone to Alaska. She had a loose tooth and thought attaching it to a […]

  • News

    Troopers: Motorcyclist last seen in Glennallen reported missing

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 16:04

    A Valdez man, who was last seen on Tuesday in Glennallen, has been reported missing by his family, according to an Alaska State Trooper dispatch. Christian Cumbie, 39, was driving his purple and yellow motorcycle, with Florida registration, when he left the Hub in Glennallen and headed south on the Richardson Highway, troopers said. An Alaska State Trooper […]