SACHSE - Donya and William Palmer's three children arrived at their Sachse home to find friends waiting for them. Their oldest daughter broke down in the arms of a friend. Their day ended with heartache and tears after a deadly stabbing.
"It's really a hard time for them, and I just want to let them know that everything is going to be okay, you know," said family friend Brieanne Dean.
The children are dealing with a tremendous loss after their mother, Donya, 47, and her parents, Raymond and Mary Davis, were stabbed to death. The incident happened at the Davis home in the 2100 block of Peavy Road. Police arrested the kids' father and Palmer's estranged husband, William. He's facing capital murder charges.
Palmer and his wife, Donya, separated about a week ago, according to police. She was staying at her parents’ home. Around 6 a.m. Donya went outside to her car. Palmer was apparently waiting for her. Police said he chased her into the home with a knife in hand.
Police said Donya was stabbed first. Her parents, Raymond and Mary Davis, heard her screams.
"He attacks her and then he begins to stab her," said Lt. David Pughes with the Dallas Police Department. "Her father, who is 69 years old came out, and he was subsequently stabbed, also by the suspect. At that time the mother, who is 76 years old, came out to try and see what the commotion was, and she was also stabbed."
Donya’s sister and niece were also in the home at the time. Palmer stabbed the sister in the arm, but she was able to get away. She grabbed her daughter and ran for safety as Palmer roamed through the house searching for the two survivors.
The deadly attacks stunned Palmer's friends and neighbors.
"There are several jobs I have recommended him for, cause he cleaned floors," said family friend Terry Mayfield. "He was a hard worker. A good guy. I can't believe it."
Mayfield found out the couple had split up last Sunday. The Palmers have been his tenants for nearly five years. He told us the family was behind rent by two months.
"He called and told me that they were having some problems in their marriage," Mayfield said. "They seemed to get further and further behind their bills. I thought it was just some way of putting me off... In hindsight, I wish I would have listened to him."
Donya worked at American Gypsum, while her husband cleaned carpets and floors. Mayfield told us, both were welcoming and nice.
"I just want to be there for the kids," Mayfield said.
Palmer drove to his home in Sachse after the stabbings. Undercover agents who were working nearby went to the home and then followed him to Taco Bueno on Highway 78 for breakfast. He ordered a sausage burrito and a drink.
An assistant manager at the fast food restaurant told News 8 that Palmer, a regular customer, appeared nervous. She did not want to talk on camera, but said she noticed blood on Palmer's left hand and that his fingers were bandaged with electrical tape. She also mentioned that Palmer was in a hurry and constantly checking his rear-view mirror. Undercover agents from Dallas and Sachse police moved in to make the arrest as Palmer drove away from the restaurant.
"It’s impossible to provide an explanation of what might be going through someone’s mind, or what might cause somebody to snap and commit an act as heinous as this," Pughes said.
Documents obtained by News 8 reveal that Sachse police went to Palmer home five times in the last two years. The most serious call happened in August last year. The couple's oldest daughter told officers her father assaulted her and grabbed her by the neck.
Sachse police reviewed the case, but no charges were filed after not finding any evidence to support an intentional assault.