HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Police say that the man accused of killing eight people inside a Harris County, Texas home over the weekend spent nearly 14 hours in the house.
Officials say David Conley spent much of that time terrorizing the adults and children who later died, and many of the victims were bound by handcuffs.
During much of the unimaginable ordeal, Valerie Jackson, mother to the six children, was writing secret messages via text and Facebook begging for family members to get help, another police source said.
It is not yet clear why three police visits to the northwest Harris County home, where the tragedy unfolded over the course of eight hours, did not lead to a faster discovery of the situation.
During the first two visits, there were no outward appearances of trouble, KPRC reports.
“They just didn’t have enough to go inside. They made a decision,” the source said.
Another police source told KPRC that during one of the visits, patrol deputies heard a deadbolt lock turn on the front door, but nobody would respond from inside.
During the last visit to the home, deputies surrounding the house saw a child’s body through the window and entered the house.
The suspect allegedly fired at them, forcing them to pull back and wait for hostage negotiators and a unit that specializes in high-risk situations.
After hours of negotiations, authorities said they coaxed the suspect into coming out and arrested him.
They found a gruesome scene in the three-bedroom house.
The victims were spread out in all bedrooms, shot to death, some multiple times, authorities said.
A police source told KPRC Conley bought the gun online within the last two weeks.
The victims’ ages ranged from 6 to 50 and included a woman, her husband and six children, according to Cannon.
They are Valerie Jackson, 40, and Dwayne Jackson, 50. The children are Nathaniel, 13; Honesty, 11; Dwayne, 10; Caleb, 9; Trinity, 7; and Jonah, 6.
KPRC put together the following timeline from their police sources:
- Saturday, 10:15 a.m. — Valerie Jackson sends ‘Help!’ text to mother in Minnesota.
- Saturday, 12:30 p.m. — Harris County Sheriff’s Office visit No. 1.
- Saturday, 5 p.m. — HCSO visit No. 2.
- Saturday, 8:30 p.m. — HCSO visit No. 3. Deputies make entry, gunfire.
- Sunday, 12:15 a.m. — Suspect surrenders.
- Total = 14 hours
Conley has been charged with three counts of capital murder. Authorities said in such cases, one capital murder count includes multiple deaths.
At this time, prosecutors are still unsure about the possibility of the death penalty.
He is being held in the Harris County Jail without bail.
He appeared in court for the first time Monday morning.