A YouTube star left a trail of cryptic notes online before murdering his family and attempting a school shooting.

Trey Eric Sesler was a 22-year-old "loner" in 2012, living with his parents in Waller, Texas and unable to find a stable job.

He spent much of his time filming videos for his YouTube channel, in which he reviewed anime and video games. He was prolific, uploading 323 clips over five years.

As one of the site's first anime reviewers, Sesler (who went by Mr Anime and later LensCapProductions) built up a devoted following and his channel had achieved more than one million views overall.

But as time went on, Sesler's content took on a darker tone. In between reviews he would often film comedic skits, which eventually became more disturbing than funny.

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As a native Texan, the YouTuber was a big fun of guns and started uploading videos of himself shooting different weapons on makeshift ranges or even into random buildings.

Sesler later told police it was around this time that he began killing animals and setting small fires for fun. He even posted a video to Facebook saying his pet rabbit had gone missing, which poses the sinister question of if he slaughtered the animal himself.

One of his final videos was called "Mr Anime Is Planning Something". In the clip, he explained he'd be taking a short break from uploading reviews as he'd found a job in a fascinating new field.

He later told fans he was going to work in the film industry, but it's unknown if there was any truth in his claim.

On March 20 2012, Sesler lured his mum Ronda into their home's garage and shot her four times with a shotgun.

When his older brother Mark, his "best friend" who'd appeared in several of his YouTube videos, came down to hall to investigate, Sesler fetched a pistol from his bedroom and shot him too.

He then walked into his parents' bedroom and shot his sleeping dad Lawton in the head.

Mark survived the initial shot and managed to lock himself in the bathroom, but Sesler beat the door down and finished him off.

He proceeded to wreck the family home, carving bizarre phrases into the walls and doors such as: "I love my family" and "I will never forgive myself, I don't know why I did this."

Sesler then packed his car with more than 100 rounds of ammunition and a Hi-Point model 995 carbine rifle, one of the guns used by the Columbine shooters in the 1999 massacre.

He drove to Waller High School, where he'd graduated a few years earlier, and sat in the parking lot for a bit before driving away. He was soon arrested by police.

During questioning he said he'd planned to carry out a Columbine-style shooting at the school and wanted to murder at least 70 people.

"He further admitted to investigators that he studied serial killers to the point of grading their work and researched mass shootings," Waller police chief Phil Rehak told media at the time.

"He had thoughts of committing acts of public violence such as these."

Investigators had previously said Sesler claimed to have killed his family "because he didn't want them to be ashamed of what he was about to do", but he reportedly changed his story several times during the police interview.

He was never able to explain exactly why he committed such horrendous violence, nor why he decided against shooting up the school.

The only thing he said was that it had all become "too real".

Sesler was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or appeal.

There have been rumours that he has since died behind bars, but these have never been confirmed by authorities.

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