Police Say Houston Man Killed Family — Then Made Up Self-Defense Claim

Houston police have arrested a man they say shot and killed his wife and daughter at the family's home back in June — and tried to convince investigators he acted in self-defense.

Michael Ratliff, 43, faces a capital murder charge for the slayings, police said. After police responded to the shootings just before 3 a.m. on June 16, Ratliff told investigators he was home when his daughter and wife attempted to attack him with knives, and that's why he shot them.

His daughter, 14-year-old Ariel Ratliff, died at the scene. His wife, Sandtrece Ratliff, 44, died at Ben Taub General Hospital, police said. Evidence from the scene determined Michael Ratliff was not defending himself, and police arrested him Wednesday.

He has a criminal history in Harris County that includes two violent offenses, court records state. In 2002, Ratliff pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assaulting a family member. Five years later, he pleaded no contest to a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, stemming from a fight in which Ratliff stabbed a man outside a Houston club.

The person who co-signed the surety bond to spring Ratliff out of jail in that case, according to court records: his wife, Sandtrece.

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