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Accused killer faces death penalty in executions of 6 children, 2 adults at Houston home

David Ray Conley, 49, is accused of tying up his ex-wife, her husband and their six children before shooting each once in the head.

By Doug G. Ware

HOUSTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Texas authorities have arrested and charged a man in the execution-style murders of six children and two adults inside a Houston home -- where it's believed the killer crawled through a window to get to the victims.

According to investigators, David Ray Conley, III, entered the home Saturday night through the unlocked window -- despite the fact that the owner had a restraining order against him and had changed all the door locks recently.

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Once inside, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said, Conley tied up all eight victims and shot each once in the head -- including several small children. The victims all died at the scene.

"We do not -- cannot fully comprehend the motivation of an individual that would take the lives of so many innocent people. Especially the lives of the youngest," Harris County Chief Deputy Tim Cannon said. "The killer's motives appear to be related to a dispute with Valerie, who was a former domestic partner."

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Investigators believe Conley, 49, was previously married to the home's owner, Valerie Jackson, and helped her support the children during the marriage.

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The victims were identified as parents Dewayne Jackson, 50, his wife Jackson, 40, and children Nathaniel, 13, Dewayne, Jr., 10, Honesty, 11, Caleb, 9, Trinity, 7, and Jonah, 6. Nathaniel was believed to be Conley's son from his relationship with Jackson.

"We are all hurting. It's a difficult day for us at the sheriff's office. Once again, a tragedy has struck," Cannon said.

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The documents, which charge Conley with numerous counts of capital murder, revealed that the surnames of the four identified victims as either Jackson or Conley.

"He restrained, shot and killed eight people," Celeste Byrom, an assistant district attorney said during a brief court hearing Sunday.

Authorities responded to the Jackson home at around 9 p.m. Saturday for a welfare check. When no one answered the door, deputies became aware that Conley was inside. Recognizing his outstanding warrant for aggravated assault, backup units arrived on the scene and surrounded the house, The Washington Post reported.

Deputies then spotted what appeared to be a body lying inside and entered the home. Upon entry, they say Conley started shooting at them and they retreated. After a terse standoff, Conley was taken into custody.

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The sheriff's office told the Post that the relationship between Conley and Jackson was unclear, although Facebook posts indicate that the two were previously married.

Officials say Conley has a domestic violence record that goes at least back to 2000, and was arrested just last month for assaulting Jackson during a domestic dispute. He has other crimes on his rap sheet that go back to 1988, USA Today reported.

In 2013, before she received a protective court order against Conley, she posted that Conley was "the best father in the whole world, my baby, my best friend, my forever."

A subsequent post read, "You have always put me and our kids ahead of your self and always take care of home," the Chronicle reported.

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