Ex-wife of man accused of murdering family takes the stand in trial

He murdered her sister, her brother-in-law and four of her nieces and nephews. Now, Ronald Haskell’s ex-wife is taking the stand against him.

Once Melanie Haskell, Ron's ex-wife is telling a story of enduring severe abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, who she says carried out exactly what he threatened to do, murder her family members if she divorced him. Lyon is telling jurors the man she’d known since childhood became abusive after they were married. 

“He did start physically abusing me. Hitting, kicking choking. If you can think of it, he did it,” she says.

Lyon claims the abuse often happened in front of their four kids, but was a secret to everyone else because she says Haskell was controlling and isolated her from friends and family.

Did she try to leave him?  

“No, I was too afraid. He promised me if the secret was ever to be known, he would make me watch my family die,” she told jurors. 

After 11 years of marriage, Lyon did divorce Haskell and a few months later in July 2014. Haskell admits to murdering Melanie’s sister Katie Stay, Katie’s husband Stephen and the couple’s four kids, but he says he was suffering a mental crisis and didn’t know what he was doing. 

To that, Melanie replied, “It would be hard to convince me of that.” 

She wiped tears as she talked about the time she came to the realization she would have to tell her four kids their father murdered their family members.

Haskell wasn’t only Katie Stay’s brother-in-law. He had known Stephen Stay since childhood. In fact, Ron Haskell and Melanie had their wedding reception at Stephen Stay’s parents’ house. 

A psychologist also testified today saying after evaluating Haskell he does not believe Haskell is insane.

Closing arguments are expected Wednesday and jurors will decide if Haskell is guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity.