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Six young children and parents found shot dead at house

Police discovered the bodies at the home in Houston, Texas
Police discovered the bodies at the home in Houston, Texas

Six children and their parents were fatally shot in the head at their Houston home by a man with a violent criminal history who was previously in a stormy relationship with the mother, police said.

David Conley, 48, was charged with capital murder over the deaths. Most of the victims had been handcuffed and some had been shot multiple times, said Sgt Craig Clopton.

The dead were identified as parents Dewayne Jackson, 50, his wife Valerie Jackson, 40, and children Nathaniel, 13, Dewayne, 10, Honesty, 11, Caleb, nine, Trinity, seven and Jonah, six.

Nathaniel was believed to be Conley's son from the relationship with Valerie Jackson.

"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 young ones," said Chief Deputy Tim Cannon.

"The killer's motives appear to be related to a dispute with Valerie, who was his former domestic partner."

Conley, who is being held in Jail, did not appear at a court hearing on Sunday where an arrest affidavit was read.

The authorities were first alerted about a problem at the home when a relative of Valerie Jackson's contacted the sheriff's office to conduct a welfare check at the home.

A stand-off ensued for several hours between Conley and authorities until Conley surrendered, said Sgt Clopton.

Investigators declined to say when on Saturday the victims were shot or if any victims were alive when deputies first tried to enter the home.

Conley told authorities that he discovered on Saturday morning the locks had been changed at the home after he had moved out. He entered the home through an unlocked window, according to the affidavit.

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.

In court documents, authorities say the suspect had been arrested for allegedly assaulting Valerie Jackson. The attack happened at the home where the bodies were found and documents say he had been in a relationship with her.