Stay Family murder trial reconvenes, testimony challenges suspect's insanity defense

Immediately after admittedly shooting the entire Stay family, investigators describe Ronald Haskell as arrogant. They say Haskell even taunted them at times, until he learned everyone he shot did not die.

A Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigator told jurors when Haskell learned he killed six members of the Stay family instead of all seven, Haskell could no longer stand on his feet.

In his murder trial, Haskell has been sitting with his head down every day, seemingly not paying attention, but that wasn’t the case the night Haskell admittedly shot all seven members of the Stay family in their own home in July 2014. In fact, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. James Dousay told jurors after Haskell was charged with Capital Murder he smiled and asked officers “Are you going to beat me up now?”

“He was very cocky and had a huge grin on his face,” says Sgt. Dousay.

Prosecutors say Haskell was an abusive husband and murdered Stephen and Katie Stay and the Stay’s four kids after Katie’s sister divorced Haskell. Defense attorneys argue Haskell was mentally ill, didn’t know what he was doing, and was hearing voices the day he shot his in-laws. 

Sgt. Dousay says Haskell seemed to follow and understand orders just fine and didn’t appear to be suffering a mental crisis. He says when Haskell learned 15-year old-Cassidy, who Haskell shot in the head, actually survived and didn’t die with the rest of her family.

“I saw him begin to wobble, then collapse,” Dousay told jurors.

There was also testimony that 6-year-old Rebekah Stay had gunshot residue on her hands. The expert testified the GSR was likely there because she put her hands up to try to defend herself and was looking at Haskell as he pointed the gun right at her and pulled the trigger.

The trial is set to continue Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.