The estranged wife of a man from Harris County, Texas, who is accused of killing eight people, said recently she has only one way to describe him.
“He’s the devil,” Vernessa Conley told KRIV News of her husband David Conley.
Police arrested 48-year-old Conley on Aug. 9 after a standoff with law enforcement, KTRK News reports.
He remains in custody, charged with capital murder following the deaths of 50-year-old Dwayne Jackson and his wife Valerie Jackson, 40. Conley is also charged with the murders of six children. Dwayne Jackson, Jr., 10; Honesty Jackson, 11; Caleb Jackson, 9; Trinity Jackson, 7; and Jonah Jackson, 6, are all said to have been the children of Dwayne and Valerie Jackson.
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The sixth child, 13-year-old Nathaniel Jackson is said to be the son of David and Valerie, KHOU News reports
Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies reportedly responded to the home where the bodies were found for a welfare check around 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 but couldn’t get anyone to answer the door.
“After several repeated times to get someone to come in the door, more information was obtained that a male was inside the home who had a warrant for aggravated assault of a family member,” Deputy Thomas Gilliland told KTRK.
That male was later identified as David.
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Police reportedly called in high-risk operations specialists and surrounded the home. When one officer peered though a window and reportedly saw what appeared to be a deceased juvenile on the floor, police forced their way into the house.
Authorities said David fired at them and they retreated from the home. A standoff ensued until a negotiator was able to talk Conley out of the home around 12:30 a.m.
The eight bodies were found in the home after David was arrested.
Those close to Valerie said she and David had lived to together for a time but the woman had recently reconciled with her husband, Dwayne.
Police told KHOU they believe David broke into the house after discovering that Valerie had changed the locks after he had recently moved out. Investigators say he restrained all eight of his victims with metal handcuffs before shooting them in the backs of their heads.
Vernessa, who said she has been separated from David for decades, told KRIV she knew Valerie and had warned her to stay away from David.
She told KRIV she had endured brutal physical, sexual and verbal abuse at the hands of David before leaving him when she was pregnant with their daughter. Vernessa said she told Valerie she should do the same thing.
“She was a good person,” she said of Valerie. “She had a good heart. All she wanted to do was raise her children but she wanted to please him as well.”
Vernessa showed KRIV a text message she had sent to Valerie in July.
“I'm sorry that you're going through that with him,” it read. “I told you that's why I left him. Get out girl for you and your children.”
“I told her. I told her,” Vernessa added when speaking to KRIV. “I said he's evil, get out. He just was an evil person. He had an evil spirit. I never wanted to be around him.”
David has been charged with three counts of capital murder, KHOU reports. One count covers multiple deaths, according to court documents.