HOUSTON Hundreds of mourners heard relatives share pleasant memories on Wednesday at the funeral of six family members, including four children, who were shot dead execution-style in their suburban Houston home last week.
White coffins of the six were adorned with floral bouquets, and smiling pictures of the deceased were placed behind. Those killed were Stephen Stay, 39, his wife Katie, 33, and their children Bryan, 13, Emily, 9, Rebecca, 7, and Zach, 4.
"Please bless us that we will know the good that comes out of this seemingly senseless tragedy," Roger Lyon, the father of Katie, said in the invocation held at a Mormon chapel.
Police said Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, entered the Stay house on July 10 posing as a delivery man and searching for his former wife, Katie's sister. He then tied up each family member and shot them in the head, authorities said.
One person survived the attack: the Stays' 15-year-old daughter Cassidy, who suffered a glancing bullet wound to the head. After being left for dead, she called police, alerting them to the attack and telling them the gunman was planning to kill others.
Cassidy remembered her brother Bryan, who had a mild form of cerebral palsy, for his enthusiastic hugs as she painted a picture of each of her siblings that included snippets of their favorite movies and endearing traits.
Randy Cousins, a relative, told mourners: "If there's anything we've learned as a family it is that the world is a good place."
Other relatives and religious leaders described the parents, Stephen and Katie, who were engaged a few months after meeting, as devoted to each other and their family.
Stephen Stay, who opened a real estate agency about a year ago, grew up on a citrus farm in California and took multiple jobs to provide for his family. Katie, who had a love of dancing, could always find time to care for others, they said.
"I want to tell everyone that even though it is hard, we have our faith, it is intact. It will sustain us," Bishop Scott McBride said.
Private burials were held at an undisclosed location.
Haskell has been charged with capital murder, which brings the possibility of the death penalty in Texas. He collapsed in a Houston court on Friday when details of the murder were recounted by prosecutors.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Eric Walsh and Jim Loney)