Ronald Haskell failed to take responsibility for killing six members of the Stay family during a series of jail phone calls to his family members, a Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigator said Thursday during the punishment phase of his capital murder trial.
Jurors listened to several of the conversations, which could help them determine whether Haskell should receive life in prison without parole or the death penalty for the 2014 murders of his ex-wife’s family at their home in Spring. He was convicted last week in the deaths of Katie and Stephen Stay, his ex-sister and brother-in-law, and has admitted to killing four of the couple’s five children.
In a February 2015 call, Haskell’s brother urged him to seek repentance and try to grow from his sins. Haskell responded from jail, “It’s tough.”
“I know what my mindset was,” he said. “I don’t feel guilty yet.”
Prisoners are warned that their phone calls in jail are recorded, the jury was told.
Mike Mauldin, the investigator, said he felt Haskell was blame-shifting in many of his conversations.
Haskell’s attorney, Neal Davis III, questioned whether the lack of guilt could be a result of his client’s mental illness. The defense lawyers used an insanity defense in the guilt or innocence phase of the trial, claiming Haskell had a severe mental illness and didn’t know his conduct was wrong.
Jurors instead sided with prosecutors, who contended that Haskell was a narcissist who sought to harm anyone who helped his ex-wife. She left him about a year before the killings after sustaining more than a decade of alleged abuse.