HOUSTON, TX (NBC NEWS) — The man charged with killing six children and a couple at their home in a Houston suburb had a previous relationship with the woman he is accused of killing, and at least one of the murdered children was likely his own, authorities said Sunday.
David Conley has been charged with three counts of capital murder after six children and two adults were found dead inside a northwest Harris County home. He is being held without bond.
The children — ranging in ages from 13 to as young as 6 — were identified on Sunday afternoon.
Sources told KPRC2 that Conley did not appear in court Sunday afternoon because he told authorities he was suicidal.
The victims have been identified as Dwayne Jackson, 50, Valerie Jackson, 40, and their six children Nathaniel, 13, Honesty, 11, Dwayne Jr., 15, Caleb, 9, Trinity, 7, and Jonah, 6.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office said it started with a welfare check at a home in the 2100 block of Fallbrook at Veterans Memorial around 9:30 p.m. Saturday night.
According to deputies, no one answered the door at the home and they were alerted that a man inside, identified as David Conley, had an outstanding warrant on charges of aggravated assault of a family member.
Deputies then called for the High Risk Operations Unit to make entry into the residence.
“The male had a history of family violence, and no one answering the door, we felt that it required that,” said Deputy Thomas Gilliland of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies surrounded the house and while they were checking the windows, they saw what appeared to be a dead child on the floor.
Deputies entered the house and said Conley, age 48, started shooting. They pulled back and the hostage negotiation team was called in.
After a couple of hours, Conley surrendered.
“One of our negotiators was able to have him come out of the house. He was taken into custody,” said Gilliland.
Once deputies went back into the home, they found the bodies of eight victims. They believe they are the bodies of six children and two adults.
Investigators said they were all shot to death and most of them were handcuffed. Their bodies were found throughout three bedrooms.
Officials had initially reported five children and three adults were killed.
Homicide investigators said Conley had a prior relationship with Valerie Jackson.
Even though Conley was absent during a Sunday afternoon probable cause hearing, a prosecutor laid out some of the details of this case. A prosecutor told a judge Jackson recently changed the locks on the house, but Conley found his way inside through an unlocked window.
“He then restrained, shot and killed 8 people in the home,” prosecutor Celeste Byrom told the judge.
Those who lived near the home knew the children well and immediately became concerned when they saw deputies taking up positions around the home.
“We were freaking out. We didn’t know what was going on. We were just trying to look out the window, get some information as to exactly what was going on,” said Allen Cartagena.
Officials with Children’s Protective Services told KPRC 2 the agency had been involved in the children’s lives in the past. A spokesperson for CPS, Estella Olguin, said at the time of their murders the agency had no current investigation. Olguin said CPS’s Office of Child Safety has launched an internal review to determine exactly what happened with those prior cases and whether everything was handled properly.
Several residents told KPRC 2 that deputies asked them to evacuate while hostage negotiators tried to speak with Conley inside the house.
“It’s pretty sad because we know the kids, we know the kids. They would come outside and play. They’re really good kids,” said Angel Munoz.