HOUSTON — A person who prosecutors say used to be pushed via vengeance when he fatally shot six individuals of his ex-wife’s circle of relatives in Texas, together with 4 youngsters, used to be sentenced Friday to dying, a choice the lone survivor of the assault says will lend a hand her let cross of “harm and anger.”
Jurors sentenced Ronald Lee Haskell after deliberating for little greater than 4 hours. The jury had to make a choice from existence in jail with out parole or a dying sentence.
The similar jury ultimate month convicted Haskell of capital homicide within the 2014 killings of Stephen and Katie Keep at their house in suburban Houston. The jury rejected his legal professionals’ efforts to have him discovered now not accountable via explanation why of madness.
Haskell killed the couple and 4 in their youngsters in the lounge in their suburban Houston house in 2014. A 5th kid, 15-year-old Cassidy Keep, used to be shot within the head however she survived via taking part in useless.
After the sentence used to be introduced, Cassidy Keep, now 20, learn a sufferer have an effect on observation from the witness stand, pronouncing she had to begin with had felt “harm and anger” after studying that Haskell felt no regret for killing her circle of relatives.
“My closure used to be the hope that you’d really feel dangerous … I am letting cross of my feelings and I am giving it to God as a result of he’s going to handle me and he’s going to lend a hand me thru this,” mentioned Keep, including she would proceed to reside “my existence with happiness” and overlook about Haskell.
All through remaining arguments within the punishment segment of Haskell’s trial previous Friday, Harris County District Lawyer’s Workplace prosecutor Kaylynn Williford described the terrifying scene as Haskell fulfilled his plan to kill his ex-wife’s circle of relatives.
Williford described how Haskell shot Four-year-old Zach within the shoulder — an harm he will have survived — and mentioned the anxious kid scurried within the chaos to his father on a sofa, burying his head in his father’s shoulder for cover.
However via that time, Zach’s father used to be already useless, Williford mentioned.
“He scrambles over to his father, as a result of that is what little boys do,” Williford mentioned.
Haskell then went over to Zach, pointed a gun to the again of his head and pulled the cause, she mentioned.
“How chilly and vengeful do you must be to take the lifetime of a Four-year-old?” Williford mentioned.
Cassidy Keep, now 20, used to be in court docket on Friday and cried when Williford detailed the killing of her circle of relatives. A minimum of one juror additionally wiped away tears. Keep testified at trial, which started Aug. 26, that she begged her uncle “please do not harm us” ahead of Haskell opened fireplace.
Protection legal professionals argued onerous for a existence sentence.
Neal Davis III mentioned the 39-year-old guy must spend the remainder of his existence excited about what he has accomplished and “die in jail.”
Doug Durham informed jurors that on the middle of prosecutors’ arguments for a dying sentence is “anger, hatred, concern, vengeance on account of this horrible, horrible crime.”
Durham mentioned Haskell’s lengthy historical past of psychological sickness, during which he used to be handled via more than one medical doctors, must be thought to be via the jury as a mitigating think about deciding that existence in jail can be a extra suitable sentence. His legal professionals mentioned Haskell heard voices that informed him to kill his ex-wife’s circle of relatives.
Durham prompt jurors to imagine “compassion and forgiveness” as an alternative of “hate, anger” when making their choice.
However prosecutor Lauren Bard informed jurors that Haskell’s “factor isn’t his psychological sickness, his factor is his character,” describing him as a “manipulative, egocentric, narcissistic, blame-shifting monster.”
Prosecutors mentioned Haskell had faked signs of psychological sickness and had meticulously crafted a plan to harm anyone who helped his ex-wife, Melannie Lyon, after the couple divorced, touring from California to Texas to hold out the killings.
To impose a dying sentence, jurors had to find Haskell can be a long term risk to society and that any mitigating components — reminiscent of psychological sickness — have been inadequate to advantage a lesser sentence.
But even so Stephen and Katie Keep and their son Zach, Haskell additionally killed 7-year-old Rebecca; Nine-year-old Emily; and 13-year-old Bryan. Katie Keep used to be Lyon’s sister.
Prosecutors best had to rate Haskell with two of the deaths to get to capital homicide. In instances with more than one murders, this is a not unusual trial technique for prosecutors not to rate the deaths suddenly in case felony problems stand up and new indictments are wanted.
After the capturing, he reloaded his gun and headed to the houses of Lyon’s oldsters and brother so, in keeping with prosecutors, he may just entire his vengeful plan. He used to be arrested ahead of achieving every other properties.
All through the trial’s punishment segment, kinfolk of the Remains informed jurors how their lives have been devastated via the killings.
Haskell’s brother testified that his sibling “nonetheless has excellent in him.”
After Friday’s verdict, Cassidy Keep informed journalists she hopes what is she skilled will give others power to stand difficulties in their very own lives.
“I didn’t suppose I might lose my entire circle of relatives in an issue of seconds. If I will get thru this, you’ll be able to get thru what you are going thru and you will be OK,” Keep mentioned.