In 1999 David Conley (now 49) and Valerie Jackson (now 40) met through a dating service near Houston–shortly after Conley was released from jail for auto theft, possession of cocaine and evading arrest. They had their first child about a year later; a daughter (who has been in the custody of Valerie’s mother for several years).
Shortly after the birth of their first child, in December 2000, Jackson called police because Conley had cut her neck with a knife, punched her in the face and wrapped a cord around their daughter’s neck. In 2002, Conley was sentenced to five years in prison.
After being released from his five-year prison stint, Jackson asked their young daughter to convince Conley to move back home. They had another child together as well. But things weren’t all rosy in paradise; Jackson was also having a long term, on-again-off-again love affair with Dwayne Jackson.
It gets a bit confusing because over the years, Valerie would sometimes live at the home on the 2200 block of Falling Oaks Drive with Conley, other times with Dwayne, with the men moving in and out. Valerie and Dwayne have five children together.
The abuse continued over the years, as did the dual love affairs. Things started to get really ugly last month, in July 2015, when Conley was beating Jackson’s 10-year-old with a belt. When she tried to stop him, he smashed her head into the refrigerator. She called police and they issued a warrant for his arrest and Conley ended up moving into a motel. It would be August, though, when Conley would ultimately take Valerie’s life, as well as the lives of those she held dearest.
A few days before the August 8 murder, Conley purchased weapons, ammunition and handcuffs online, to avoid being seen purchasing them in person. He then planned the murders, detailing to investigators afterward, how he planned to park down the street to avoid being noticed.
When he arrived at the home around 10:30am, Conley found that Valerie had changed the locks. Having once lived there, Conley knew the home well and entered through an unlocked window. It was then that he corralled everyone in the home into the master bedroom and restrained each of them.
Around 10:50am deputies were alerted to suspicious activity and were dispatched to the residence but left when no one answered the door.
It was then that Conley executed the family one at a time: Nathaniel (his own son, aged 13) Dwayne (10), Honesty (11), Caleb (9), Trinity (7) and Jonah (6) as well as Valerie and her common law husband Dwayne, Sr. He executed them one at a time, saving Valerie for last, forcing her to watch him murder all her children and then her husband.
Deputies were sent to the property at least two more times, only to return to the home at 8:00pm when they finally decided to enter the home. They were met with gunfire. Conley finally surrendered, but not before killing Valerie.
His history of assaults against Jackson dates back to 2000, when he put a knife to her throat, punched her in the face and then wrapped an electrical cord around her baby’s neck.
He was also sentenced to nine months in prison for threatening Jackson with a knife in April 2013.
His most recent arrest was just last month, when he allegedly smashed Jackson’s head into a refrigerator several times, after she tried taking away a belt he planned to hit his son with.
Yanske told the Chronicle that, with Conley’s violent past, police “should have kicked down that door instantly” after learning he had his family held hostage.
This is a horrible tragedy that could have been avoided on so many levels. This man is obviously mentally ill and didn’t get the care he needed. Weapons and ammunition should not be available for purchase online with no background checks. And the local law enforcement knew that there was a hostage situation and drove away because no one answered the door. Is this really the America that we want to be living in?
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