Waller County triple murder suspect studied serial killers, researched mass shootings

Ammunition, target found in raid of Hempstead home

Author: Stephen Dean, Investigative Reporter, sdean@kprc.com
Published On: Mar 21 2012 05:00:39 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 22 2012 06:40:55 PM CDT
HEMPSTEAD, Texas -

Several schools added extra security as authorities detailed the mass shooting plot from the man suspected of killing his family in Waller, Local 2 Investigates reported Thursday.

Trey Sesler, 22, of Waller, is jailed on a charge of murder and capital murder in the Waller County Jail.  He was arraigned on one charge at the jail Wednesday night and was arraigned on the newest capital murder charge Thursday morning from behind bars.

He's charged with opening fire inside his family home in Waller this week, killing his mother first, then killing his older brother and then turning the gun on his father.

The arrest warrant released Thursday spells out that Sesler scribbled on the walls near the bodies.

"I love my mom, dad, and brother. Why did I do this. God forgive me, because I cannot forgive myself," Sesler wrote, according to authorities.

Sesler was arrested the night the bodies were discovered, and the arrest warrant spells out that Sesler confessed to killing his mother, Rhonda Sesler, his brother, Mark Sesler, and his father Lawton Sesler, a fifth-grade teacher at Cy-Fair ISD's Robison Elementary.

In a news briefing, Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith told reporters that "half a dozen" guns have been confiscated. He said Trey Sesler was arrested in Magnolia with a .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle and a .9-mm pistol, which were both believed to have been used to kill his family.

Additional rifles and pistols were then found at the family home, said the sheriff, and he said Trey Sesler had acquired numerous magazines and a significant amount of ammunition for each of the guns.

During eight hours of intense questioning by Texas Rangers, the FBI and Waller County Sheriff's detectives, Trey Sesler mentioned ongoing friction with his father. Smith said that friction centered around the father being bothered at his son spending so much time on the couch playing video games and having no gainful employment, while continuing to live at home.

"It kept coming back (to that)," said Smith.

Waller Police Chief Phil Rehak said that Trey Sesler admitted during questioning that he had been killing animals and family pets for years, he had set numerous fires in the community during last year's wildfires that ravaged the area and he had opened fire on a local school during nighttime hours.

Rehak said Trey Sesler admitted to firing a single shot through the window at Waller High School on two separate occasions about 18 months ago. In each case, police were unsure whether a hunter's errant shot may have been to blame. He said it did not conclusively look like a deliberate shooting on either occasion.

However, Rehak said Trey Sesler admitted under questioning that he had studied serial killers, even grading their crimes in online forums, and he had a fixation with the Columbine school massacre from Colorado. Sesler told investigators he was working up to carrying out a similar attack on a public place, officials said.

Smith said no specific target was mentioned in the interrogations, and the plan may not have been fully in place yet.

Smith said Trey Sesler was clearly working up the courage to carry out his own mass shooting, but perhaps the killing of his family satisfied his urge or the reality and gravity of his killings may have set in after his family was wiped out.

"It built up over a point," said Smith.  

Smith said computers have been confiscated that should detail exactly what Trey Sesler has written about his plans to carry out a mass shooting, and while Trey Sesler admitted that he wanted to carry out his own "Columbine-style" shooting, no specific target was ever mentioned to police interrogators.

The Waller Independent School District said it added security at Waller High School and other campuses immediately after the killing of the family. Smith said that was partly due to how close some of the schools were to the murder scene.

The district's superintendent sent a letter to faculty and parents, which was posted online,

saying there was "no factual evidence" that leads law enforcement to believe that there is a safety threat at any Waller ISD school.

Some parents were unnerved, regardless, saying the district should have done more. Some parents posted comments on Facebook saying that the mere presence of a possible mass-shooting plot should have prompted the school to lock down or dismiss classes.

Smith said Trey Sesler "calls himself a loner" but had apparently been planning to carry out his own attack for the past three or four years.

"We (believe) we prevented something horrific," said Rehak.

He and the sheriff said that Trey Sesler told interrogators that he wanted his attack to target a public place, which could be a grocery store or strip shopping center or a school.

Bail was set at $5 million on the various murder charges.

Smith said that Trey Sesler remains in his jail on a suicide watch, due to some comments that Trey Sesler has made about killing himself. He said Trey Sesler had been abusing drugs, and subpoenas are being obtained to gather medical files from any professional who may have treated Trey Sesler in the past for any psychiatric condition.

A judge appointed Huntsville attorney Frank Blazek to represent Sesler Thursday afternoon.

He told Local 2 Investigates, "We start off every case with the presumption of innocence."

He said he wants to sort out the mental health issues for his client, as well as his background. 

"We'll take it step by step from there," he said, adding that he will make sure to be very thorough in putting together his defense against the capital murder charges.