Funeral services were held Wednesday for the Stay family — both parents and four children — who were gunned down in their suburban Houston home on July 9.
Stephen Stay, 39, his wife Katie, 34, and their four youngest children were buried in white caskets during a private ceremony after services at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Spring, Texas. An estimated 1,000 people attended the funeral services.
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"I don't know you ever prepare yourself for something like this because you don't expect this," Don Guthrie, 57, a family friend and fellow church member, told The Associated Press
. "This is a shock. This is incomprehensible."
Cassidy Stay, 15, the couple’s oldest child, survived a gunshot wound by playing dead after Katie Stay’s former brother-in-law, Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, allegedly shot the family after they refused to tell him where he could find his ex-wife, Melanie.
Friends have said Katie Stay went to Utah in 2013 to help her sister get out of her relationship with Haskell, the AP said. That couple married 12 years ago in California, separated last year, and divorced in February.
According to investigators, Haskell tied up the family and put them face-down on the floor before shooting each in the back of the head. In addition to Stephen and Katie Stay, Bryan, 13, Emily, 9, Rebecca, 6, and Zach, 4, were killed. Haskell was arrested several hours later after a standoff with police and has been charged with several counts of capital murder.
Haskell's lawyers have said they will focus on his mental condition and whether he was legally responsible for the carnage, the AP reports, and prosecutors haven't yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.
The Stays were described as an "anchor family" whose home was the place where children in their neighborhood gathered.
As of Thursday, more than $353,000 had been raised for Cassidy Stay on GoFundme.com
, an online fundraising site. According to the website, more than 6,600 donations have been made in the past seven days.
“Cassidy not only survived the incident, but heroically after the incident was able to call 911, then give details to 1st responders that lead to saving the lives of her grandparents and police capturing the suspect minutes later,” according to the website.
Haskell was apparently on his way to the home of Roger Lyon, Katie Stay's father, after the murders but police were able to intercept him.
“We are thankful for all the things they did for us," Lyon said about his daughter’s family during an invocation, and prayed for “some good come out of this seemingly senseless tragedy."
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