Jurors shown autopsy photos of murdered Stay family members

Relatives of the six murdered members of the Stay family left the courtroom this afternoon before graphic autopsy photos were shown. Ronald Haskell is charged with shooting all seven members of the Stay family. Cassidy Stay, 15, survived.

Katie Stay’s mom, Kelly Lyon, has been in the courtroom since the trial began last month, but this afternoon, she was not.  She couldn’t bring herself to look at the horrible photos that were shown.

Typically, pictures are taken to remember good times, but not these. Jurors in the Ronald Haskell murder trial were shown autopsy photos of two of his victims, Katie and Stephen Stay. Dr. Dana Hopson was with the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office when she performed their autopsies.

Hopson says Mrs. Stay had her teeth shot out at point blank range with a bullet through her mouth.  The mother of five was also shot through her hand and in the back of her head.

Haskell, who was earlier convicted of violence against his wife Melanie, shot Melanie's sister Katie Stay, Katie’s husband and all five of the Stay's kids after his wife divorced him. Defense attorneys say Haskell was suffering a mental crisis when he tied up and duct taped his own mother in California on July 2, 2014 and began driving to Texas. 

Haskell’s attorney's showed jurors a map, saying at one point Haskell circled around and voices told him to go back to California to kill his family, but they say the voices instructed him to continue to Texas and kill Melanie’s family instead. That’s exactly what he did on July 9, 2014.

The lead detective, HCSO Sgt. James Dousay, testified that Haskell is on surveillance video during the trip, going to three different movies, shopping for ammunition, having a steak dinner and at a Jiffy Lube renewing his vehicle registration. Dousay told jurors Haskell did not appear to be suffering a mental crisis but rather carrying out an evil plan.