In Texas, it was an overflowing crowd which congregated on Wednesday to come to the six funerals for members of the Stay family who were murdered last week. The coffins of Stephen and Katie Stay, and their children Bryan, age 13, Emily, age 9, Rebecca, age 7, and Zach, age 4, were all organized at the front of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located in Houston. They were placed in front of big photographs of each family member.
Katie Stay’s uncle, Randy Cousins, spoke about the family being tight-knit and led by a mother who always enjoyed celebrating. He stated that she would always be their Mary Poppins, almost perfect in every way.
The funeral-goers included the only surviving member of the mass killing, oldest child Cassidy Stay, age 15, and also Melanie Lyon, who is Katie Stay’s sister and the ex-wife of the man allegedly accused of murdering Cassidy’s family, Ronald Lee Haskell, age 33.
The six were killed on July 9 in their suburban Houston home after being tied up. They were all shot in the back of the head. Cassidy was also shot but she survived by playing dead. She was able to call police and tell them what happened. She also named Haskell, as the gunman and warned he was gunning for other relatives. Police records showed he had a history of domestic violence. Haskell ended up being arrested only a few hours later after a police standoff and is now facing multiple charges of capital murder.
There was a memorial service held this past weekend and Cassidy tearfully told mourners that her family was in a much better place and that she would be able to see them again one day. The program for the funerals resonated that emotion with the slogan “Families can be together forever,” above a picture of all the Stays together before the tragedy occurred.
Stephen Stay’s brothers said that he was a man who always put his family first. Roger Stay spoke through tears and said that Stephen always wanted to be a good provider. Jeff Stay stated that Cassidy, his niece, wanted everyone to know that her father loved to play the drums, her brother Bryan adored his tablet,” and her brother Zach cherished sea life.
Katie’s sister, Aubrey Westwood, also spoke and gave messages from Cassidy about her brothers and sisters. She wanted people to know that her sister Emily loved the toy Hello Kitty, and her sister Rebecca had a nickname of Becca Boo, except on the Wii, where her user name was “Coconut.”
At the funerals, Bishop Scott McBride told the surviving teenager that her family would always be right with her. He declared that she had a family of guardian angels looking over her. However mourners stated they attempted to concentrate on the lives of the Stays and not how they died, even though it was difficult.
One funeral-goer states that when she was informed there had been a shooting at the Stay home; she completely fell apart even before she knew everyone but Cassidy had been murdered. She stated that her knees buckled and she fell to the ground. She added that was when her faith kicked in and that faith had sustained all of them.
The church was overflowing on Wednesday when it came to the six funerals for members of the same family who were murdered last week
By Kimberly Ruble