HOUSTON — Cassidy Stay was only 15 when her world was forever changed by an enraged relative hell-bent on revenge.
Ronald Haskell, Cassidy's uncle, is on trial for capital murder in the shooting deaths of her parents and four young siblings.
Cassidy, now 19, stared him down from the witness stand Tuesday but he wouldn't look her way.
It was July 9, 2014 when Haskell barged into the family's Spring home dressed as a FedEx driver.
“I felt like the light got sucked out. I started to get nervous," Cassidy recalled on the witness stand. “I said please don’t hurt us, please don’t hurt us. I knew how dangerous he was.”
Cassidy said she tried to talk her uncle out of harming the family.
“I went through and told him my brothers and sisters names and ages. I was appealing to his humanity. I didn’t think someone would hurt kids if they knew how old they were," she testified.
Haskell had driven 1,500 miles from Utah to Texas with murder on his mind, prosecutors say. He planned to kill Katie and Stephen Stay and their five children because he was was furious that Katie helped convince her sister Melanie to leave him.
"Katie in her wisdom and maternal instinct knew what was going to happen," said prosecutor Samantha Knecht. "She jumped and screamed 'no' and went at the defendant. He pulled the trigger and shot Katie in the face."
Cassidy saw him shoot her mom.
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"I saw her fall. I started screaming, I heard Zach screaming. I heard another shot and then Zach stopped screaming," she testified.
Haskell shot them all execution-style.
Cassidy took a bullet to the skull, but survived by playing dead until Haskell left.
Despite a skull fracture from the bullet, she alerted authorities that the gunman was on his way to her grandparents' home to kill them.
Deputies arrested Haskell outside the home of his wife's parents. They weren't harmed and Cassidy is credited with saving their lives.
The young woman showed the same remarkable composure four years later on the witness stand, breaking down only when she heard her voice on an officer's audio camera.
Haskell's attorneys declined to cross-examine her.
They plan to use the insanity defense, saying he heard voices that told him to kill his wife's family.
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