Ronald Lee Haskell, accused of slaughtering six people in his extended family, collapsed during his first court appearance Friday as the judge read the capital murder charges against him. Court bailiffs in Harris County, Texas, caught the burly suspect in his orange jail uniform before he could fall to the ground, reported NBC affiliate KPRC. He was wheeled out of the courtroom, but was eventually brought back in to stand before the judge. A court-appointed defense attorney said his team is trying to determine the state of Haskell’s mental health as evidence shows a "troubled" history.
Police say Haskell, 33, traveled from California to the Houston suburb of Spring and ambushed his ex-wife’s sister, her husband and their five children in their home Wednesday. He fatally shot Stephen and Katie Stay, and their four children, ages 4 to 13, in the back of their heads, authorities said. A fifth child, age 15, survived the shooting. She played dead, and then called 911 when the gunman fled. Police said Haskell had gone to the home in search of his ex-wife, who wasn’t there. Haskell's attorney said he was researching a not guilty plea by reason of insanity.
— Erik Ortiz
First published July 11 2014, 8:18 AM