Jurors to decide if Spring family’s killer gets life or death

Ronald Lee Haskell Jr, the man accused of fatally shooting six members of his ex-wife’s family, will be sentenced to either life in prison or death.

Haskell, 39, was found guilty of killing the Stay family at their suburban Houston home in 2014.

Prosecutors alleged Haskell was motivated by vengeance and had plotted to hurt anybody who helped his ex-wife, Melannie Lyon, after she left him. Lyon testified that Haskell physically abused her and their children, so she moved them all from Utah to Texas to be with her family after the divorce.

Authorities say Haskell traveled from California and stalked Lyon’s family for two days before killing six of them.

Among those killed were 39-year-old Stephen Stay and his 34-year-old wife Katie, along with their children 4-year-old Zach; 7-year-old Rebecca; 9-year-old Emily; and 13-year-old Bryan. Katie Stay was the sister of Haskell’s ex-wife. Haskell was convicted in the deaths of Stephen and Katie Stay.

Prosecutors argue that Haskell should be sentenced to death because society would be safer, there’s no guarantees that he will behave in prison while serving a life sentence, and if he ever escaped prison -which isn’t likely- he would try to harm the surviving members of the Stay family.

The defense says Haskell should be sentenced to life in prison because they believe he isn’t a danger to society when he’s in a controlled environment and taking the right medication. They also argued that Haskell doesn’t understand what he has done, but has expressed remorse.

Attorneys are expected to give their closing arguments for the sentencing phase at 9 a.m.

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