HOUSTON – A man who prosecutors say was driven by vengeance when he fatally shot six members of his ex-wife’s family in Texas, including four children, was sentenced Friday to death, a decision the lone survivor of the attack says will help her let go of “hurt and anger.” Jurors sentenced Ronald Lee Haskell after deliberating for little more than four hours. The jury had to choose between life in prison without parole or a death sentence. The same jury last month convicted Haskell of capital murder in the 2014 killings of Stephen and Katie Stay at their home in suburban Houston.
The jury rejected his attorneys’ efforts to have him found not guilty by reason of insanity. Haskell killed the couple and four of their children in the living room of their suburban Houston home in 2014. A fifth child, 15-year-old Cassidy Stay, was shot in the head but she survived by playing dead. After the sentence was announced, Cassidy Stay, now 20, read a victim impact statement from the witness stand, saying she had initially had felt “hurt and anger” after learning that Haskell felt no remorse for killing her family. “My closure was the hope that you would feel bad … I’m letting go of my emotions and I’m giving it to God because he’ll take care of me and he’ll help me through this,” said Stay, adding she would continue to live “my life with happiness” and forget about Haskell.