Grandparents speak out about horrific murders of son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren

Jessica Willey Image
Friday, July 11, 2014
Grandparents speak out about Spring family's murders
As we learn more about the Spring family killed in cold blood, the parents of Stephen Stay, one of the seven shooting victims, are opening up about the tragedy

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- As we learn more about the Spring family killed in cold blood, family members and friends are opening up about the tragedy.

Authorities say Katie Stay, her husband Stephen and children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, were tied and forced to lie face-down on the floor of their home Wednesday evening before each one was shot execution style. Everyone but 15-year-old Cassidy died in the shooting.

Pictures of the Stay family show happy children with their devoted parents, and that's just how their family dynamic was.

"This was a family, a close knit family," said Tom Stay, father of Stephen Stay.

Joyce and Tom Stay, Stephen's parents, shared family memories and their great loss.

"Katie and Stephen loved each other. Totally wonderful, I mean so committed to each other; all on the same page at the same time doing what they were supposed to do," Joyce said.

The family of seven was originally from southern California. Stephen, one of three boys, grew up on a farm. And his family has known Ronald Haskell, the accused killer, as well as his parents for years.

"He was brought up in a good family and they taught him the Gospel and he understood what was right and wrong and he was a good boy. How he changed you just don't know what triggers that off in people's mind," Tom said.

While the Stays are grieving, they are also grateful 15-year-old Cassidy survived. Their first conversation was hard.

"I said 'I'm so sorry but I'm thankful you're still with us.' But she said, 'My mom and dad are in a better place.' And I said, 'I know that and you'll get through this,'" Joyce said.

The parents of Katy Stay declined to give any interviews Thursday but did issue a prepared statement through authorities.

"Stephen and Katie Stay and their beautiful children were an amazing and resilient family. They lived to help others, both at church and in their neighborhood. We love them beyond words," Stay's father, Roger Lyon said in the statement. "We are shocked and devastated by this tragedy that has taken these precious souls away from us." (READ THE FULL STATEMENT)

The Stay family also was well-known in their community. They were active in a special needs baseball league called the Superstars.

"It's for a range of disabilities -- high functioning, low functioning. Kids who can talk, kids who can't talk. Kids who can walk, kids who can't walk. And that's where we met the Stay family," said Jamie Bautista, who has helped for 10 years to lead the Superstars.

Bryan, 13, had cerebral palsy. His sister Emily, 9, was developmentally delayed, according to family friends. Dad Stephen taught them to be fearless through his own love for baseball. He became a coach to a team last year called the Angels.

"Bryan ran with all his heart. He was always going to come shake your hand, even though it was hard for him to do," said Bautista. "And Emily loved her brother, loved her mama, loved her daddy."

Stephen and Katie loved the Superstars so much that they agreed to take over the league and were in the middle of that transition.

"They would have done it beautifully and handled it with love. I don't think they're a family that's easy to replace. Not at all," said Bautista.

An official memorial page has been set up on Facebook, and those who want to donate to the family can do so on

The Associated Press contributed to this report