HEMPSTEAD, Texas (AP) – A man charged with fatally shooting his parents and brother in their Texas home had been studying serial killers and mass shootings like the one at Columbine High School and hoped to carry out his own act of public violence, authorities said Thursday.
Trey Sesler, 22, was arrested Tuesday after police found the bodies of his family members at their home in Waller, about 40 miles northeast of Houston. Police said they’ve also recovered ammunition and about six weapons, including handguns and long rifles.
“When you have those things, I think you have reached that point you’re getting ready, at least physically,” Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said. “You have prepared yourself to go do that massive shooting.”
Authorities said Sesler spent time “grading” the work of serial killers and “researching mass shootings in public areas.” Asked whether Sesler named specific targets, Waller Police Chief Phil Rehak said: “Time will tell.”
Smith said Sesler exhibited escalating criminal behavior that started with him killing pets, then setting fires and shooting at buildings.
“We’re thinking he obviously approached a point in his life that he was getting ready to do some act of violence, which he did,” the sheriff said. “Was that the end of it, does that stop it? Things like that will never be known.”
Sesler, who already was charged with murder and being held on a $3 million bond, was arraigned Thursday on a capital murder charge. Bond on the capital charge was set at $2 million.
Sesler did not immediately have an attorney. Smith said a judge would appoint one for him.
If convicted of capital murder, he could face the death penalty.
Sesler maintained an active YouTube account and posted reviews of Japanese animation, calling himself “Mr. Anime.” Several videos showed him firing weapons, authorities said.
Besides the guns, police also have seized his computer and journals and are examining their contents. “Hopefully that’ll shed a little more light,” Rehak said.
There was no immediate evidence Sesler had any accomplices, Smith and Rehak said.
Sesler had no prior criminal history. He had attended a nearby junior college and held part-time jobs. Authorities said he told them he delivered pizzas.
During the eight hours that investigators interviewed Sesler after his arrest, he was quiet, respectful and cooperative and showed “a full range of emotions,” Smith said.
“He did cry more than once,” Smith said. “He has shown some remorse. … He’s certainly aware of what he’s done.”
Authorities were called to the family’s home Tuesday afternoon. Relatives were worried because they hadn’t heard from the family members.
Police found the bodies of 58-year-old Lawton Ray Sesler, his wife, Rhonda, 57, and their son, Mark, 26. The father’s body was in a bedroom, the mother’s in a garage and the son’s in a hallway. Multiple rifle casings were scattered throughout the house, according to the arrest warrant.
Smith said the three likely died Sunday night and there was evidence Trey Sesler left the house, then returned and left again.
In the criminal complaint filed with the court, police described finding writing on the walls that read: “I love my mom, dad and brother,” “why did I do this,” and “God forgive me, because I cannot forgive myself.”
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