One by one, six white caskets holding the bodies of a Texas family murdered execution-style were wheeled into a Houston church on Wednesday morning, ahead of a funeral that is expected to draw an overflow crowd. A spray of colorful flowers adorned each of the caskets that were carefully removed from black hearses outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where utility poles were festooned with ribbons in honor of the Stay family: Stephen and Katie, and their children Bryan, 13, Emily, 9, Rebecca, 7, and Zach, 4. Funeral home workers carried in a series of floral arrangements, some decorated with teddy bears in memory of the slain children. Nearby, a friend of Katie Stay hung up a sign fashioned from bright blue cups that formed the words: STAY STRONG. "It's bright thoughts for a bright family," said the friend, Marilyn Johnson.
The Stays were killed July 9 in their Spring home. Police say the ex-husband of Katie Stay’s sister ambushed them, tied them up and shot them in the back of the head. One member of the family, 15-year-old daughter Cassidy, survived and appeared at a memorial service Saturday where she tearfully told mourners that her family is "in a much better place and that I’ll be able to see them again one day." Although Cassidy was injured, she was later able to identify the shooter as her ex-uncle, Ronald Lee Haskell. Police say the family may have been caught up in a domestic dispute between Haskell and his ex-wife.
— Deborah Strauss and Gabe Gutierrez
First published July 16 2014, 6:56 AM