During the probable cause hearing, lawyers for Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, suggested that he is mentally ill. Prosecutors said he realized when he was in court that "this is real and there are real consequences."
Haskell, wearing a FedEx driver's shirt, allegedly forced his way into the home of Stephen and Katie Stay in a quiet subdivision in the Houston suburb of Spring. Prosecutors said he tied up the family, demanded to know where his ex-wife was and then shot the couple and their five children in the head.
Only Cassidy Stay, 15, survived. She called 911 and said Haskell was on his way to her grandparents' house, where police were able to intercept him.
Beverly Miles,a family friend, told the Houston Chronicle that Haskell's former wife, Melanie Lyon, and their four children had been staying with her parents. She said the Stays brought Lyon from Utah to Texas after her marriage came apart.
"He was a troubled man," Miles said of Haskell. "Born and raised in a wonderful family, he had a loving home life and somehow became bitter. We don't know why."
Haskell was arrested at least twice in Utah for domestic violence incidents, the first in 2008 and the second in 2013.