HOUSTON — A man accused of killing six members of his ex-wife's family, including four children, after forcing his way into their home collapsed in court twice Friday as a prosecutor read out details of the crime.
A shackled Ronald Lee Haskell was standing during a probable cause hearing when he fell to the ground. Deputies lifted him to his feet and the 33-year-old Haskell stood for about another minute before collapsing again. He was lifted into a chair and wheeled from the courtroom.
Before the collapses, Haskell answered with a quiet "Yes" a couple of questions by State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis about his legal rights. Ellis ordered Haskell held without bond.
Haskell's court-appointed attorney, Doug Durham, said his focus will be Haskell's mental condition "and whether he was legally responsible at the time of his conduct."
Tammy Thomas, the lead Harris County assistant district attorney in the case, said she expected a grand jury to issue a capital murder indictment as a result of Wednesday's fatal shootings of Stephen and Katie Stay and four of their children, ages 4 to 14.
Authorities said Haskell was searching for his ex-wife, Katie Stay's sister, when he came to the home in the northern Houston suburb of Spring. He tied up the family and put them face-down on the floor before shooting each in the back of the head, according to investigators. The family had refused to say where Haskell could find his ex-wife.
The couple's 15-year-old daughter survived by playing dead. She suffered a fractured skull when a bullet grazed her head but was able to call 911 and tell police Haskell planned to shoot other relatives. Police located Haskell's car and took him into custody after a three-hour standoff.
The girl was discharged from a hospital in good condition Friday and is expected to recover fully.