Ex-Utahn accused of killing 6 in Texas was ordered to stay away from ex-wife

Published: Thursday, July 10 2014 1:15 p.m. MDT

A photograph, flowers and candles are left on the porch where a fatal home shooting took place Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Spring, Texas. The Harris County Sheriffs Office says Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four children on Wednesday night and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl, who called 911.

David J. Phillip, AP

LOGAN — A man accused of forcing his way into his former sister-in-law's Texas home and killing her, her husband and four of their five children has a history of domestic violence problems from when he recently lived in northern Utah.

As part of his divorce with his former wife, Ronald Lee Haskell was ordered by a Utah judge to undergo a psychological evaluation and was not allowed to visit his children by himself until a therapist could determine whether he was "mentally and emotionally stable enough to care for the children," according to court records.

Haskell, 33, was a "recent resident" of the Logan area and had "several involvements" with Logan police and was incarcerated in the Cache County Jail in 2008, the Cache County Sheriff's Office confirmed Thursday.

Haskell lived on Hampton Place in Logan from July 2006 until November 2013. He was living in a basement apartment in the area of 400 North and 400 West in Logan from July 2013 until October 2013.

Ronald and Melanie Haskell had been building a home in nearby Smithfield, but Melanie Haskell tried to escape her abusive marriage before it was finished, neighbors said.

Thursday night, about 30 former neighbors who knew the Haskells when they lived in a townhouse in Logan held a candlelight vigil. Steven Kippen, who served as the Haskell's LDS bishop for three years, told those who gathered to keep both Melanie and Ron's families in their prayers and to try and be forgiving.

"I think it's important for us to let go of the bitterness. Hate is what drove Ron to do what he did. And I don't think we can excuse what he did by showing hatred as well. I think that would be hypocritical on our part," he said.

Utah abuse

Ronald Haskell pleaded guilty to simple assault in a domestic violence-related incident in 2008, according to Utah state court records.

"Melanie Haskell stated her husband Ronald had (dragged) her by her hair and struck her in the head, and then did it again in front of the children," according to Logan police.

The abuse allegedly continued after that court case ended.

"She was tired of him beating her up and her children witnessing it. And when she saw her oldest child start to become violent, she chose to move into a (Community Abuse Prevention Service Agency) home for their safety," said Jolyn Young, who was one of Melanie Haskell's neighbors in Utah.

Logan police also reported that Ronald Haskell called officers in September of 2009.

"He stated his wife had left and left a note, which made him concerned for her safety. A short time later, he returned with his wife in the car and told officers he was taking her to the hospital. In August of 2013, Melanie reported a protective order violation. It was stated Ronald had made threats against her to his attorney. In October of 2013, Melanie reported a possible protective order violation because Ronald had shown up at one of the children’s elementary schools. This protective order was actually served on him the day of the complaint. Neither protective order violations were prosecuted," police said in a prepared statement.

The Haskells were married in California in 2002. They separated in June of 2013. They have four children together between the ages of 3 and 11.

In July of 2013, Melanie Haskell filed for a protective order against her husband in 1st District Court in Logan. In August she filed for divorce. In October, both parties agreed to drop the protective order and enter into a "mutual restraining order."

"The parties agree that Ms. Haskell will have primary physical custody with the parties having joint legal custody," court records state.

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