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Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Dispute with exgirlfriend
Number of victims: 8
Date of murder: August 8, 2015
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: December 29, 1966
Victims profile: Valerie Jackson, 40; Jonah Jackson, 6; Trinity Jackson, 7; Caleb Jackson, 9; Dwayne Jackson Jr., 10; Honesty Jackson, 11; Nathaniel Conley, 13; and Dwayne Jackson, 50.
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Harris County, Texas, USA
Status: In prison awaiting trial

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2015 Harris County, Texas shooting

On August 8, 2015, a mass shooting occurred inside a home in northern Harris County, Texas, near Houston. 48-year-old David Ray Conley allegedly broke into his former home and held hostage Valerie and Dewayne Jackson, along with six children, including his own 13-year-old son. Over the course of nine hours, he reportedly shot and killed the entire family. He then engaged in a shootout with responding police before surrendering.


At around 10:30 a.m., Conley arrived at a house in the 2200 block of Falling Oaks Road, in unincorporated northern Harris County, Texas, near Houston. This was the home of his former girlfriend, Valerie Jackson, where he had previously lived with her.

As Jackson had changed the locks on the house, he entered through an unlocked window. He then confronted Jackson, her husband, and their six children with a 9mm handgun, forcing them to the master bedroom. There, he tied up some and handcuffed others to the bed. While Conley was distracted, Jackson was able to text her mother, saying she was being held at gunpoint by him. Afterwards, over the course of nine hours, he allegedly shot Jackson's husband and children in the back of the head, with Jackson being forced to witness everything. She was the last victim to be shot.

During the course of the shooting, police officers were sent to the home several times to perform welfare checks. The first occurred at 10:42 a.m., when dispatchers were notified by Jackson's mother. They knocked on the door and checked the house, but reported no response from the home an hour later. They returned to the home twice in the afternoon after being alerted by Jackson's siblings, but they never received any responses during both visits. It was not made clear if officers attempted to obtain a search warrant that would have allowed them to make a forced entry into the home.

At about 6:00 p.m., while performing a fourth welfare check, the officers obtained information that a man inside was wanted on a warrant. They then began circling the perimeter and spotted a dead body from a window. Four police officers forced their way into the home at around 8:00 p.m., which prompted the suspect to begin firing on them. The officers retreated and waited for backup to arrive; Conley surrendered an hour later.


David Ray Conley III, age 48, was identified as the main suspect. He was reportedly a former boyfriend of Jackson, with whom he fathered Nathaniel Jackson, one of the slain children.

Prior to the shooting, Conley had an extensive criminal record dating as far back as 1988, including arrests for domestic violence, DUI, and drug possession. His latest charge was assault, relating to a July 28 incident where he allegedly bashed Valerie Jackson's head repeatedly against a refrigerator. The case was pending at the time of the shooting. He had previously been arrested and charged in 2000 and 2013 for being violent towards Jackson.

Conley was said to have been physically abusive towards her and jealous of Dewayne Jackson. According to Valerie Jackson's brother, Earl Yanske, he suffered from bipolar disorder. At the time of the shooting, Conley had an estranged wife, Vernessa Conley, who he was also abusive towards.

Hours after the shooting, Conley was contacted by Jackson's brother, to whom he confessed to the familicide after being asked if he killed Jackson. However, during a jailhouse interview, he recanted his confession and then claimed he was "fed up" with how Valerie and Dewayne Jackson, Sr. were raising his son and their children, who he helped raise. He also claimed the entire family was being disrespectful towards him.

Conley allegedly began preparations for the familicide sometime after noticing the children's behavior problems. He purchased online the gun used in the shooting, three magazines of ammunition, and six handcuffs.

On September 28, Conley requested for a visit by New Black Panther Party leader Quanell X, which was granted. During the meeting, he reportedly confessed to Quanell X and shared details of the familicide to him. Quanell X allegedly became disgusted and cut the meeting short in anger.


Six children and two adults were killed in the shooting, all of them dying at the scene from gunshot wounds to the head. Some of them were shot multiple times. Initial reports indicated five children and three adults were killed. They were identified as:

Valerie Jackson (40)
Dewayne Jackson, Sr. (50)
Nathaniel Jackson (13)
Honesty Jackson (11)
Dewayne Jackson, Jr. (10)
Caleb Jackson (9)
Trinity Jackson (7)
Jonah Jackson (6)

On August 17, a service for the victims was held at Fallbrook Church in northwest Houston and was attended by about 200 people.

Legal proceedings

Though he did not appear in court, Conley was charged with three counts of capital murder and had his bond denied. He was held in Harris County Jail. Prosecutors announced that they are likely seeking the death penalty. Conley is expected to reappear in court on November 17.


Accused killer says: 'I'm not God ... I'm the man of the house.'

By St. John Barned-Smith - Houston Chronicle

August 13, 2015

Conley says girlfriend cheated with 'bully;' kids turning into 'monsters'.

David Conley walked into the visiting room on the sixth floor of the Harris County Jail Wednesday afternoon, sat down by a phone on his side of a plastic glass divider and calmly recounted his tumultuous relationship with the woman he is accused of fatally shooting, along with her common-law husband and six children.

It has been four days since authorities arrested the 48-year-old man at his ex-girlfriend's northwest Harris County home. Authorities say he slipped through an unlocked window and shot 40-year-old Valerie Jackson, Dwayne Jackson and the children, one by one in the head.

Showing little emotion, Conley refused to talk about the grisly crimes he's accused of committing, citing his lawyer's advice. Instead, he dwelled on his relationship with Valerie Jackson, casting himself as the partner of a woman who constantly cheated on him with a "bully" and who failed to properly raise her children.

Conley said he met Jackson in 1999 through a dating service, shortly after he had finished serving a stint in jail for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

"I liked her. I thought she was OK. ... I was trying to do the right thing in life," said Conley, a short, stocky man with a partially shaved head and a newly trimmed goatee, dressed in the yellow jumpsuit worn by those accused of capital murder.

But tensions soon shivered through the relationship several weeks after they met, he said, when she appeared to be high on crack cocaine.

Conley and Jackson had their first child, a daughter, about a year later in Houston, he said. Jackson grew up in LaCrosse, Wis. It is not clear when she first came to Houston.

Domestic violence case

A short time after their daughter was born, a few weeks before Christmas in 2000, Conley was arrested and charged in a domestic violence case after Jackson told police he shoved her onto a bed at her Houston apartment and straddled her with a knife to her throat.

Conley said he was not going back to prison because of her, a Houston police officer wrote in his report at the time. Jackson told police he cut her neck and punched her in the face and then wrapped a cord about her baby's neck. Conley was sentenced to five years in prison for these attacks, records show.

After he was released, his young daughter, at her mother's behest, asked Conley to come back and resume his relationship with Jackson, he said.

Valerie Jackson went back and forth between Conley and a man named Dwayne Jackson, a long-time family friend, said her brother Earl Yanske. Her first two children were with Conley, then she had five with Jackson.

"I never tried to hold her back ... but then she would always try to run off and be with him," Conley said of Jackson.

During a half-hour interview with the Houston Chronicle, Conley said Dwayne Jackson's presence was a problem.

"He's a demon. He was a bad person. He (was) not on God's side," Conley said. "He threw a brick through my van window. He never bought the kids nothing."

Disciplining the kids

Earlier this month, Conley said, he decided to leave the Harris County home he had been sharing with Valerie Jackson. He was angry because she wasn't disciplining the kids, he said, his voice rising. She was feeding them spoiled food, he said. They were wild and constantly disrespectful, he said, turning into "monsters." Valerie put "bogus cases" on him, he said.

"I understand how it looks, but it's not like that," he said, hunched over and shackled. "The Bible says 'Thou shall respect your mother and father or your days shall be short,'" he said. "I'm not God, but you know, then, I'm the man of the house."

The children were "very intelligent," but constantly disobedient and sassy, he said. The problems extended to Nathaniel, slain on Saturday, whom authorities have identified as his second child with Jackson.

Conley said he believed that he wasn't Nathaniel's father, explaining that he had tried have a paternity test performed, but Valerie never allowed it.

"I loved him like my own son, I wouldn't turn my back on him ... but he had a discipline problem," Conley said.

In August 2008, Valerie Jackson had filed a "paternity acknowledgement" suit in La Crosse County Circuit Court, which listed Conley as a respondent. It's unclear why she filed the suit in Wisconsin, or whether it was resolved. Documents weren't immediately available online from the Wisconsin court system.

"They never cleaned without me having to fuss at them," he said of the children. "They also argued with Valerie. ... She was letting them run around wild - like they were gangsters and stuff."

Was a 'demon'

He said another reason he left Jackson was because she was cheating on him with Dwayne Jackson, who he said was a "demon."

"She was still seeing Dwayne. ...," he said. "She would argue about going to do something (and leave). That's how I knew."

After their relationship reached a breaking point this month and Conley left, he said, he went to a motel for three days before he "found himself homeless." He called Valerie to tell her was going to return to the house. She did not tell him Dwayne Jackson had moved back in, he said. It was a situation he found annoying, he said.

"I had been watching her movements. ...," he said. "I knew by her actions she would do stuff like that."

Asked what he would tell Valerie Jackson's mother - who called the Harris County Sheriff's Office on Saturday from Minnesota after she could not contact her daughter - Conley was unrepentant. "She stole my kid years ago and never gave her back," he said of Valerie Jackson's mother, who still has custody of the child. Jackson and her mother, he said, "were against me."

Lomi Kriel, Brian Rogers and Jim Pinkerton contributed.


David Conley, alleged killer of 6 children, says they were becoming ‘monsters’

By Lindsey Bever - The Washington Post

August 13, 2015

Inside a segregation cell in a Houston jail, David Conley waits, passing the time talking to reporters about the rocky relationship he had with his on-again, off-again girlfriend. Earlier this week, he was charged with numerous counts of capital murder after he allegedly sneaked into her home through a window and fatally shot her, her common-law husband and her six children — each one in the back of the head.

Authorities said Conley, 49, killed Valerie Jackson, 40, her husband, Dwayne Jackson, and the six children, including his son, 13-year-old Nathaniel.

“I love Nate. I love Nate to death,” he told KPRC-TV earlier this week. Though, he said, he has wondered for years whether he is the child’s biological father.

Conley spoke Wednesday about the children who were becoming “monsters” and Jackson whom he blamed for letting them run wild “like they were gangsters.”

“I understand how it looks, but it’s not like that,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “The Bible says, ‘Thou shall respect your mother and father or your days shall be short.’ I’m not God, but you know, then, I’m the man of the house.”

[Accused Texas shooter David Conley had troubled past with victim]

Conley said his attorney advised him not to talk about the allegations against him but in an interview he told a KHOU-TV reporter: “I’m only human.”

In jailhouse interviews, Conley has instead focused on his relationship with Jackson who, over the years, bounced back and forth between him and Dwayne Jackson. He claimed Valerie Jackson had cheated on him with Dwayne — a “demon” and a “monster” who was “harassing” him.

“He tried to pimp out over me and take everything, rule over my house. How would you feel?” he told KPRC-TV. “Dwayne was a monster and Valerie, she was no Good Samaritan either. They did evil things all the time.”

Conley also said Jackson wouldn’t discipline the children so they were “growing up to be monsters.”

“They were disrespectful, rude in school,” he told the TV news station. “I’m not saying they’re dead because of that. I’m not even saying I killed them.”

When Conley met Jackson in 1999, he said, he was “trying to do the right thing in life.” He had been in trouble for auto theft, cocaine possession and evading arrest, according to court records. The next year, the two had a daughter.

Jackson’s mother has reportedly had custody of the daughter for years.

Around that time, Conley was arrested and charged in a domestic violence dispute. Jackson told police Conley had cut her neck, punched her in the face and wrapped an electrical cord around the baby’s neck. The handling of that case became an issue this week after he was charged in the murders when local media reported that, given Conley’s previous felony convictions, the prosecutor in that case could have sought the maximum sentence — 25 years to life — but opted in 2002 to accept a plea deal instead for five years behind bars.

Conley said the domestic abuse allegations against him “were all lies.”

“Basically what happened to that case is what happens with so many domestic violence cases: The victim recanted her story,” Jeff McShan with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office told KHOU-TV.

McShan said Jackson then blamed the alleged abuse on an ex-boyfriend.

“We went all the way up to the trial date hoping she would tell the truth about what happened, show up for court, but we couldn’t even locate her,” he said.

Conley and Jackson then reportedly had a son, Nathaniel, though Conley said paternity was never proved.

For years, Jackson went back and forth between Conley and Dwayne Jackson.

“I never tried to hold her back,” Conley told the Houston Chronicle, “but then she would always try to run off and be with him.”

Valerie Jackson had five children with Dwayne Jackson.

Early on, Conley was reportedly married to another woman. His estranged wife, Vernessa Conley, told Fox News that Conley had abused her years ago.

“He grabbed me by my hair and dragged me out of the bed and he drug me over the floor and he took an extension cord, the orange ones that you use,” she said, “and he wrapped it around my neck and I blacked out.”

“If I hadn’t left he probably would have killed me,” she added.

Conley and Jackson’s troubles came to a head last month when Conley allegedly attempted to discipline Jackson’s 10-year-old with a belt. Police said she tried to grab the belt from him but he slammed her head into a refrigerator. Police issued a warrant for his arrest.

Conley told the Houston Chronicle he left the house that he claims he shared with Jackson and went to a motel. Ultimately, he decided to move out but, when he realized he didn’t have anywhere else to go, he went back, according to KPRC-TV.

On Saturday morning, Conley discovered Jackson had changed the locks, police said, so he slipped through an unlocked window. At some point that morning, Jackson’s brother, Earl Yanske, who was in Montana, said he heard Conley was in the house. He tried to call Conley. No answer. Then a family member phoned police.

Deputies went to the home several times throughout the day but nothing seemed amiss. Finally, about 11 p.m., Yanske said, his cellphone rang. It was Conley, returning his call.

“‘I need to ask you a question,’” Yanske said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “‘Did you kill my sister?’”

“He said, ‘Yes, I did.’ . . . There was totally no emotion in his voice.”

Outside the home, authorities saw a body through the window.

“Deputies on scene forced entry into the home and were immediately met with gunfire,” Harris County Chief Deputy Tim Cannon told the Associated Press. “The deputies withdrew from the home.”

Authorities waited for the sheriff’s office SWAT team to arrive and, after an hours-long standoff with police, negotiators finally got Conley to come out.

Inside the home, police found the victims. The children were identified as Nathaniel, 13, Dwayne, 10, Honesty, 11, Caleb, 9, Trinity, 7, and Jonah, 6.

Now the same prosecutor who gave Conley a plea deal in 2002 will face him again and, this time, could seek the death penalty, KHOU-TV reported.

“We’re talking about a span of three to four months before that decision will be made,” Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson told reporters.

Conley is set to appear in court again Sept. 15.


'My kids were growing to be monsters': Father's twisted excuse for 'shooting dead ex-girlfriend, her husband and six children'

  • David Conley, 48, is charged with three counts of capital murder following the mass-shooting of eight people in Houston on August 8

  • 'I was doing my part as God asked me to do,' he said this week from jail

  • Conley is accused of executing his ex-girlfriend, Valerie Jackson, her husband Dwayne Jackson, and six children, including his son, Nathaniel

  • Allegedly shot them over the course of about nine house

  • Valerie Jackson was the last to be shot and was handcuffed to the bed, according to reports

  • Conley surrendered after a standoff and was charged with capital murder

  • He said he became 'fed up' with Valerie Jackson and the children disrespecting him

  • District Attorney said Monday pursuing the death penalty is 'a no-brainer'

  • Court records show Conley's criminal history dates back to at least 1988

By Joel Christie -

August 12, 2015

A Texas man charged with the execution-style killings of eight people has given a jailhouse interview detailing how he planned and allegedly came to shoot his victims, including his ex-girlfriend and son.

David Ray Conley III, 48, is charged with three counts of capital murder following the mass-shooting in the Houston-area Harris County home on Saturday night.

During a series of interviews from jail, Conley cried as he explained how he had become 'fed up' with Valerie Jackson, who he had an on-off relationship with over the course of 14 years, as well as their son, Nathaniel, 13, and her children, who he helped raise.

Conley had recently moved out of the house where the killings occurred, and Valerie's ex-husband, Dwayne Jackson - one of the victims and the father of the other five children - had moved back in.

According to ABC 7, Conley told investigators that he planned to kill all eight people, and bought a 9mm handgun online, as well as three clips of ammunition, and six handcuffs.

At 10.30am on Saturday, he parked down the street from the house so he wouldn't be seen.

Valerie Jackson had recently changed the locks on the house, so he got in by breaking a window.

Conley told investigators that he gathered all the victims in the master bedroom.

Some were tied up and others handcuffed to the bed.

He then proceed to shoot all of them, starting with Dwayne Jackson, and then the six children, over the course of the day.

Valerie Jackson was handcuffed to the bed as her husband and her children were murdered in front of her.

Police were called to the house for at least three welfare checks starting from 10.50am, ABC 7 reported, but did not enter the house.

At 8pm, on the fourth welfare check, officers attempted to enter house, but Conley allegedly opened fire.

After a one-hour stand-off, the Harris County Sheriff's Office High Risk Operations Unit and Hostage Negotiation Team negotiated his surrender.

Conley did not address what happened in the house during his interviews this week, but gave background about what was happening in his life and the frustration he felt toward Valerie Jackson and the children.

KHOU reported that he repeatedly said: 'I'm only human.'

He also admitted that he was in shock when he found out Dwayne Jackson had moved back into the house.

Conley said his 13-year-old son was disrespectful.

He then said, chillingly: 'Thou shall honor your mother and father or your days are short.'

During another interview with ABC 13, Conley said that he loved his son, but that he was troublesome.

'Nate didn't give me any respect because of what his mother was doing towards me. She ignored me.'

Conley then continued the bible verse he previously in the other interview.

'I understand, like you said, all these people are dead but Valerie wasn't a Good Samaritan,' Conley said.

'They (she and Dwayne Jackson) did evil stuff all the time.'

'I was doing my part as God asked me to do. God asked me to help them.

'God says in the Bible thou shall not disrespect thy mother and thy father.

'I'm highly spiritual. I'm not crazy. I'm not like that.'

At the end of the interview, Conley said of the children: 'They were growing up to be monsters. I'm not saying I killed them because of that. I'm not even saying I killed them. They were growing up to be monsters.'

Conley made a brief appearance in court in Houston on Monday after being charged with capital murder in the deaths.

The appearance came as the brother of victim Valerie Jackson - the woman who used to date Conley and had a child with him - said Conley coldly admitted to murdering her over the phone.

Earl Yanske told The Houston Chronicle that he called Conley on Saturday night and asked: 'Did you kill my sister?'

Conley then replied: 'Yes I did.'

'It was like me asking if he went to the grocery store and he said, ''Yeah'',' Yanske told the newspaper.

'There was totally no emotion in his voice.'

On Monday, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson told reporters after the court appearance that Valerie Jackson managed to send a text to her mother saying that she was being held at gunpoint.

Anderson said Jackson's mother, who lives in another state, called 911, and that's how police were alerted to the incident.

Anderson said it would be three to four months before authorities decide whether to seek the death penalty but that it seemed like a 'no brainer'.

'At this point it's a no-brainer,' she said.

Prosecutor Alycia Harvey added: 'He killed an entire family. He killed a husband, a wife and their children.'

According to Conley's criminal record, he was arrested for domestic assault at the same Falling Oaks Road property in 2013. He served nine months in jail.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Ms Jackson's brother, Earl Yanske, to pay for eight burials.

As of Monday it had received over $11,000 in donations.

Conley is being held Sunday in the Harris County Jail without bail.

An attorney is not yet listed for him.

Court records show Conley's criminal history dates back to at least 1988, with the most recent incident last month, when was charged with assault of a family member.

In court documents, authorities said the suspect had been arrested for allegedly assaulting the woman he was living with at the home where the bodies were found.

Court documents said Conley pushed the woman's head against a refrigerator multiple times after she tried to stop him from disciplining her son with a belt. The case was still pending.

In 2013, he was charged with aggravated assault for threatening the same woman with a knife. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine months in the county jail.

In 2000, he was arrested for retaliation, accused of putting a knife to his then-girlfriend, threatening to kill her, her baby and himself.

That came after she filed an assault charge against him for cutting her with a knife and punching her in the face. He was sentenced to five years in prison for retaliation.


DA: 'no-brainer' on seeking death penalty for mass shooting suspect

By Brian Rogers and Dane Schiller - Houston Chronicle

August 10, 2015

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said Monday that seeking the death penalty for a Houston man accused of killing six children and two adults is a "no-brainer."

"After we have indicted the defendant for capital murder, then (prosecutors and investigators) begin investigating him for the decision whether to seek death, so we're talking about a span of three to four months before that decision will be made," she said. "On the face of it, it seems like a no-brainer, but we take a lot into consideration."

Dressed in the yellow jail uniform of a high-profile inmate, David Ray Conley, 48, appeared before state District Judge Vanessa Velasquez who heard the allegations behind three capital murder charges.

Conley was arrested after surrendering to sheriff's deputies late Saturday night following a police standoff outside a house in northwest Harris County. Authorities said he had broken in through a window, armed and with handcuffs, and methodically shot his estranged ex-girlfriend Valerie Jackson, her husband and six children, including his own son, one by one in the head. All eight died in the house.

Authorities identified the dead as Valerie Jackson, 40, Jonah Jackson, 6; Trinity Jackson, 7; Caleb Jackson, 9; Dwayne Jackson Jr., 10; Honesty Jackson, 11; Nathaniel Conley, 13; and Dwayne Jackson, 50.

Prosecutors said Valerie Jackson texted her mother that she was being held at gunpoint. Anderson said Valerie Jackson's mother then did what any mother would do from four states away — she called 911.

"My heart goes out to the mother who received the text from her daughter that she was in trouble," she said. "She was able to get a text off to her mom, saying she was being held at gunpoint."

Conley, who has an extensive criminal record, has looked across the courtroom to see Anderson at least once before.

In 2000, Valerie Jackson filed charges of assault against Conley. Because of his earlier record, Conley faced 25 years to life in prison.

Another prosecutor handled the case, which lingered on the docket about two years before Anderson approved a plea deal sentencing Conley to five years behind bars.

The case fell apart before trial when Jackson recanted, first saying Conley did not do it, then accusing an ex-boyfriend of the crime.

In a mandatory memo to Conley's defense attorney about exculpatory evidence, prosecutors outlined that Jackson changed her story at least twice.

Prosecutors also told the defense that she had been convicted of prostitution three times in 2001 and trespassing in 1995. She was also involved in court proceedings in other counties for bail jumping, theft of service and check forging, for which she apparently received probation, court records show. At the time, she had open warrants for theft and bail jumping in Wisconsin.

Conley had filed a police report against Jackson before the assault, alleging that she took his car.

"It appears we took the plea deal because the complainant recanted her story numerous times," said DA spokesman Jeff McShan. "She even came to court to recant."

On Monday, Anderson compared the tragedy to the mass shooting last year in Spring that killed six members of the Stay family, including four children.

"I didn't think the Stay family case could be beat," Anderson said. "I didn't ever think we'd see anything as horrifying as that, and we have now."

Stephen Stay, 39; his wife, Katie, 34; and their children, were slain in an execution-style shooting in July 2014 when, authorities allege, a former member of their extended family came searching for his ex-wife, who was not in the home.

Ron Haskell, then 33, disguised himself as a FedEx delivery man, forced his way into the home, tied up family members, then shot them, investigators said. The oldest daughter, then-15-year-old Cassidy Stay, survived a gunshot wound and called authorities. Haskell remains in the Harris County jail on charges of capital murder.

Anderson said Conley's case will be handled by prosecutors Alycia Harvey and Marie Primm.

"He killed an entire family," Harvey said after the brief hearing. "He killed a husband, a wife and their children."

She would not speculate on a motive for the alleged capital murder.

Conley will remain in jail without bail, the judge ruled Monday.

Meanwhile, scrawls of children's chalk in blue, white and pink adorned the concrete driveway and wooden fence at the home where the massacre took place.

"Caleb," the name of a 9-year-old victim is written on the driveway beside several hearts. Neighbors aren't sure how long it had been there, as the children were always playing in the front yard and drawing with chalk.

A memorial of candles, flowers and children's toys including bicycles, stuffed animals and sports gear was growing bigger by the hour Monday as well wishers came and went from the home's front porch.

The names of the eight victims were written on yellow Post It notes stuck to a piece of white poster board: Nate, Dwayne Jr, Trinity, Jonah, Caleb, Honesty, Dwayne and Valerie their mother.

There were also notes from the children's friends.

"I really miss you Dwayne. You are my best boy," says one. "I hope to see you again if that really wasn't your body."

Another note was stuck to the top of a box of sneakers.

"These are the shoes you wanted bro," it reads. "I love and miss you."


Suspect charged with capital murder in death of 6 children, 2 adults

By Dane Schiller, Susan Carroll, Lauren Caruba, and Lomi Kriel - Houston Chronicle

August 10, 2015

Earl Yanske heard early Saturday morning that his sister's ex-boyfriend was at her house, armed and angry.

Relatives called the Harris County's Sheriff's Office, asking them to go by the house in northwest Harris County to see if she was OK.

Hours passed.

Sick with worry and stuck in Montana, Yanske dialed David Ray Conley's cell phone number. He didn't pick up. His sister, Valerie Jackson, had two children with Conley, but feared him. She'd taken him back over the years, even after telling police he'd cut her and wrapping an electrical cord around her baby's neck. She'd changed the locks in July, after telling deputies he went after her 10-year-old with a belt.

Around 11 p.m., Yanske's cell phone rang. It was Conley.

"I need to ask you a question," Yanske said. "Did you kill my sister?"

Conley's voice was flat.

"He said, 'Yes I did.' It was like me asking if he went to the grocery store and he said, 'Yeah.' There was totally no emotion in his voice."

Conley, 48, surrendered to sheriff's deputies late Saturday night after a standoff outside the three-bedroom house on Falling Oaks. Authorities said he had broken in through a window, armed and with handcuffs, and methodically shot Valerie Jackson, her husband and six children, including his own son, one by one in the head. All eight died in the house.

Given the couple's history, Yanske said "they should have kicked down that door instantly."

Chief Deputy Tim Cannon said deputies went to the house three times Saturday, starting in the morning. Nothing was amiss. They came back in the afternoon. "They did not have enough information at that time to make a forced entry," he said.

On the last check around9 p.m., they spotted a body through a window. Three officers and a sergeant tried to go inside, but Conley allegedly shot at them.

Conley was charged Sunday with multiple counts of capital murder and held without bail. Authorities identified the dead as Jonah Jackson, 6; Trinity Jackson, 7; Caleb Jackson, 9; Dwayne Jackson Jr., 10; Honesty Jackson, 11; Nathaniel Conley, 13; and Dwayne Jackson, 50.

Family had CPS involvement

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said a preliminary review found the family had "previous CPS involvement." He said officials had started to "evaluate any prior contacts with the family to ensure they were handled appropriately."

Dalila Mercado, who has lived in the neighborhood for six years, said the children often ran around outside unsupervised, the toddlers without diapers.

On Sunday, detectives were still trying to determine if Valerie Jackson, 40, had ever officially married Dwayne Jackson or Conley, and piece together their long and at times violent history.

Conley, short and stocky, met Valerie online at least 15 years ago, relatives and friends said. By then, he already had a rap sheet that included auto theft, cocaine possession and evading arrest, court records show.

A few weeks before Christmas in 2000, Valerie told police Conley shoved her onto a bed at her Houston apartment and straddled her with a knife to her throat. Conley said he was not going back to prison because of her, a Houston police officer wrote in his report. Conley cut her neck and punched her in the face, she told police, and then wrapped a cord about the baby's neck. He was sentenced to five years in prison, records show.

Valerie went back and forth between Conley and Jackson, a longtime family friend, Yanske said. Her first two children were with Conley, then she had five with Jackson.

Conley was very jealous of Dwayne Jackson, who was always trying to get back together with the mother of his children. At some point, Conley struggled with bipolar disorder, Yanske said.

"He'd be in a very happy mood one moment, then the next moment go off," Yanske said. "He was always very controlling and wouldn't let Valerie go out."

And he was a strict disciplinarian, Yanske said, sometimes too much so, "taking it too far with belts." Still, his sister would return to Conley time and again. "She stayed with him because she was scared," he said.

Conley was charged with disorderly conduct in Wisconsin in October 2008 and pleaded guilty. Weeks later, a judge there granted a temporary restraining order against Conley. It was dismissed in 2012, after the court received a letter from Valerie asking to drop the injunction, the records show.

2013 violent incident

A Harris County judge issued an emergency protective order to keep Conley away from Valerie in April 2013 after he was accused of threatening her with a knife.

Days after he was sentenced, she posted on Facebook that Conley was "the best father in the whole world, my baby, my best friend, my forever. You have always put me and our kids ahead of yourself and always take care of home."

Then in May 2014, she posted a card to Facebook, saying, "Someday you'll meet a man and he'll sweep you off your feet and he'll promise you the world. You just punch that lying bastard as hard as you can and run, baby!"

The breaking point came last month, after her 10-year-old son came home from the park after dark on July 6 and Conley went for the belt. She told deputies that Conley said if she didn't discipline the boy, he would. She said she reached for the belt and he smashed her head against the refrigerator. They issued a warrant for Conley. She changed the locks.

When exactly Conley slipped into the house is unclear. The bodies were found in three bedrooms, authorities said.

Nate, the eldest of the six children killed, was an outgoing sports nut who loved horror movies, Yanske said. Honesty was a mother hen, quiet but compassionate. Dwayne was a skateboarder and a stand-up comic who loved making people laugh. Caleb was a computer geek, smart and intuitive who liked to figure out how things work. Trinity was the princess. Jonah, the baby, was "the best cuddle bug ever," Yanske said. "He just wanted to curl up and be held."

Lauren Caruba contributed to this report.


Texas man kills ex who once dubbed him ‘best father in the whole world,' her husband, 6 kids: deputies

By Meg Wagner and Nicole Hensley - New York Daily News

August 10, 2015

A Texas man broke into his ex’s home, handcuffed her alongside her husband and her six young children — including his own son — and fatally shot each victim in the head, authorities said.

David Ray Conley admitted to the grisly murders after Harris County deputies found the eight family members dead inside their Houston home Saturday, authorities said.

Victim Valerie Jackson once dubbed the 49-year-old the “best father in the whole world” before their relationship soured, forcing her to kick Conley out of her house and change the locks, fearing her ex. It's not clear if the two were ever married.

The 40-year-old mom and her husband, 50-year-old Dwayne Jackson, were identified as the adult victims.

The slain children are 13-year-old Nathaniel Conley — the son of Conley and Valerie Jackson — and five more of her kids: Honesty Jackson, 11, Dwayne Jackson Jr., 10, Caleb Jackson, 9, Trinity Jackson, 7, and Jonah Jackson, 6.

"We do not — cannot — fully comprehend the motivation of an individual that would take the lives of so many innocent people. Especially the lives of the youngest," Harris County Chief Deputy Tim Cannon said Sunday.

Deputies said Conley broke into the Jacksons’ home through a window. The 49-year-old slapped handcuffs on each of the victims and shot them in the back of their heads, they said.

A deputy discovered the mass killing during a 9 p.m. Saturday welfare check after peering through a window and seeing a child’s body on the floor.

Conley surrendered to authorities late Saturday after exchanging a flurry of gunfire with deputies who discovered the mass killing.

Authorities say they believe Conley targeted the children’s mother over their snuffed relationship.

Conley is being held at a Harris County jail on multiple capital murder charges—the latest arrest mark on his criminal arrest sheet dating back to 1988.

His record includes arrests for car theft, driving while under the influence of alcohol, robbery threats, trespassing, cocaine possession and retaliation.

Court records reveal a tumultuous past between Conley and Valerie Jackson. A scattering of domestic assaults began in 2000, when Conley threatened to kill his then-girlfriend and her child by wrapping an electrical cord around the baby’s neck. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Years later, Conley was sentenced to nine months in prison for an April 2013 assault against a family member — only to earn the title of “best father in the whole world” on Jackson’s Facebook page that same year.

“My baby, my best friend, my forever,” Valerie Jackson wrote of her would-be alleged killer. “You have always have put me and our kids ahead of yourself And always take care of home! We love you David Ray Conley III!”

Jackson spoke fondly of Conley and appeared to be hopeful of their relationship in 2014.

“Thank goodness I’m married to (MacGyver) lol. I think he found the culprit of my washer troubles,” Jackson wrote. She tagged Conley on the post.

Their relationship most recently took another downturn when Conley was arrested July 8 for another alleged assault.

He allegedly bashed Jackson’s head into a refrigerator as she tried to wrestle a belt away from Conley, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing court documents.

He intended to beat one of her children with it as punishment, authorities say.

Saturday’s melee left neighbors frightened at the sound of gunshots and then the sight of armed law enforcement officials going door-to-door.

"Cops were walking around with their handguns out, telling people to remain in their houses. They were also telling them to evacuate. It was extremely scary," said Alan Cartagena, 19.



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