Doug Durham is Ronald Lee Haskell’s court appointed attorney. He told reporters the focus of his defense will be his client’s mental condition:
“Our state and national laws say that a person who is suffering from a severe mental illness, is not criminally responsible, if they can’t distinguish right from wrong, said Durham. And I think the evidence is going to show, and you have all reported that he’s a troubled individual.”
He says the case is similar to one invloving a Clear Lake woman who drowned her five children in the bathtub of her home 12 years ago. A jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity. Durham says he talked to her attorney George Parnham:
“I’ve got some experts lined up said Durham, and obviously Mr. Parnham has represented Andrea Yates in the past, and he’s a colleague and I will be consulting with him.”
Earlier, Assistant DA Tammy Thomas shared details in court, of how the 33 year old shot and killed execution style, members of his ex-wife’s family. The handcuffed defendant’s knees started to buckled and he fell to the floor. Court deputies tried to keep him standing, but he collapsed again. Haskell was then placed in a chair and rolled out of the courtroom. Prosecutor Thomas continued talking, almost oblivious to the focus of the courtroom that had shifted to Haskell’s collapse. Afterwards she was asked why she thought he fell:
“I have no idea, maybe reality is finally setting in, said Thomas. This is not television, this is not fiction. He is facing his consequence.”
She says it’s up to the prosecution to present the facts in what she calls planned and calculated murders:
“We have alleged an intentional act on the part of this defendant, against seven innocent people, said Thomas.”
PH : “Will the reality of what happened according to Haskell, bode well for the prosecution?”
Thomas : “It makes not different to me, whether he ever fully understands how much trouble he’s in or not, said Thomas. I’m gonna let a jury tell him how much trouble he’s in.”
She says evidence is now being collected that will be presented to a grand jury soon. She hopes it will result in a capital murder indictment.
Haskell is being treated with a cocktail of medications in jail. He has yet to enter a plea to the charges — that may come in his next court appearance.