Texas man, accused of killing 6, collapses in court

(CNN) — When faced with a home full of his estranged wife’s relatives, police say, Ronald Lee Haskell opened fire.

When faced with a judge, he collapsed.

The episode Friday in a Texas courtroom reportedly came during a reading of the six capital murder charges facing the 33-year-old suspect. Two law enforcement officials held Haskell for 20 about seconds before sitting him on the floor. They then put him in a desk chair and wheeled him out of the courtroom.

Yet Haskell returned — in time for the judge to set his arraignment for August 14.

Then, he will likely hear the murder charges again, for the four children and two adults he allegedly fatally gunned down.

It’s hard to comprehend the extent of the bloodshed or the apparent horror of the scene. Yet reports suggest that people close to him felt threatened by him well before the mass murder in Texas this week.

Even his own mother.

Father of victim: Survivor called 911, likely ‘saved all of our lives’

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Karla Haskell and her son got into an argument July 2 at the home they shared in San Marcos, California. As she attempted to leave and call for help, “Ronald physically restrained her and prevented her from leaving,” a news release from the department said.

After her daughter returned home to find her — which happened around 8 p.m., hours after the incident began — Karla Haskell relayed her story to a sheriff’s deputy. And, at the deputy’s recommendation, she obtained a temporary restraining order against her son.

Meanwhile, the California sheriff’s department deputies began looking for Ronald Lee Haskell or his truck.

They didn’t find either.

In fact, authorities didn’t catch up with him until exactly one week later.

That came after a three-hour standoff in Texas, at the end of which Ronald Lee Haskell was taken into custody.

By then, the full, gory details of what authorities say he did had become painfully clear.

Texas authorities said Haskell entered a Spring, Texas, home demanding to know the whereabouts of his estranged wife, Melannie Haskel. She was not there, but that didn’t stop him from killing — according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office — Stephen Stay, 39; Katie Stay, 33; two boys, ages 13 and 4; and two girls, ages 9 and 7.

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman said a victim called to notify police “of the location that she believed that he may go from there.”

There was only one person — a 15-year-old girl — who survived the attack; authorities indicated she was critically wounded, though a relative later said she should make a full recovery.

Roger Lyon, father of Katie Stay, credited that teenager for “her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives.

“She is our hero.”

Estranged wife accused Haskell of dragging, hitting her

Karla Haskell wasn’t the only person who had sought protection against Ronald Lee Haskell.

So, too, did his estranged wife, Melannie.

Police in Logan City, Utah, said Thursday that officers responded to a domestic violence complaint in June 2008 in which Melannie Haskell accused her husband of dragging her by the hair and hitting her in the head in front of their children.

Ronald Haskell was subsequently charged with domestic assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child. Those charges were eventually dropped after a plea deal was reached.

Utah police said Melannie Haskell in August of 2013 reported a protective order violation in which she alleged Ronald Haskell threatened her and her lawyer. She alleged another such violation that October, saying that he had shown up at one of their children’s elementary schools.

As police noted, “neither protective order violation was prosecuted.”

Ron Lee Haskell

Ron Lee Haskell

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