Was murder suspect defending his mother?

February 10, 2014
John Steven Danner

John Steven Danner

A 23-year-old suspected of killing a Paso Robles man on Friday says he was protecting his mother from her boyfriend. [Tribune]

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies arrested John Danner for allegedly shooting and killing Billy Law, 47. Law lived at a home on the 700 block of Klau Mine Road with his girlfriend Christine Ruda and Ruda’s son Danner.

During the altercation, Ruda, 51, was shot in the arm. Danner then drove his mother to a local hospital where a doctor informed law enforcement he was treating Ruda for a gunshot wound.

Based on information from the hospital, deputies drove to the Klau Mine Road home where they found the body of Law in front of a doorway.

Deputies arrested Danner on suspicion of murder at the hospital. Danner is being held without bail. His mother was treated at the hospital and released.

Sheriff’s detectives and a forensic team from the Department of Justice’s Goleta office are investigating the shooting.

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In young men especially, the amygdala in the brain does not allow much of a “pause” when emotions take a stronghold. Combine this with the fact that in some demographical areas, up to 64% of young men that are in prison for murder were….defending their mother against an abusive boyfriend, partner or spouse. So then, who is the real criminal here? I would without a doubt say….the mother. Set your son up with a anatomical, physiological and developmental propensity toward this-and you have a recipe for just such an action-and then watch him go to prison for “trying to save his mother”. Common. Once in prison, younger men are at higher risk for rape by sodomy. This usually results in such a high degree of trauma and PTSD, that functioning within society is nearly impossible. And so begins the revolving door that ends a life before it even has a chance to begin. My heart goes out to this young man, and it pains me to see such a thing. Our society needs to understand these things and our basal mentality that screams for a “hanging” is only due to lack of education. Many, many times, I see things in the news that cause me deep emotional pain. I see the perfect storm for situations like this in my profession and when they unfold, it is tragic. Tragic because it is avoidable.

Interesting; I’ve never noticed anyone ever before blaming the mother for a murder of someone apparently trying to protect the mother from an abusive relationship- kind of seems related to a “blame-the-victim” mentality. In your opinion then, women with adult male children who engage in relationships with abusive partners are wanting their sons to kill their abusive partner? Have you researched this with professionals to see if they can corroborate your hypothesis? Do you have any evidence to support your assertions, or is this just a “feeling” you have about these particular relationships? And where did you get the “64%” figure; was that actual research or something you pulled out of thin air?

Your theory makes for some interesting considerations, but without any supporting data it would seem that you are merely pontificating as a means of explaining one specific instance. And if you do have a mountain of data, supporting evidence, why not publish your findings so you can be peer-reviewed?

There are two perspectives from which to look at this. The personal responsibility perspective and the public policy perspective. We don’t know a lot of the details of their lives, so it’s hard to say whether she is really responsible because of the way she lived and raised her son, but I do agree with your premise that there is some relationship between that and actions like this. That being said, there is nothing, other than self defense, that would warrant any physical violence against her from her boyfriend…. and if her son stepped up to the plate in such a moment and put a stop to it, then I think he did the right thing and we need to ensure that people who are being victimized have the right use the amount of force appropriate to the situation to stop it. If the boyfriend shot Ruda (as it indicated the doctor was treating Ruda for a gunshot wound) then he got what was coming.

All based on speculation of course, I’m not trying to judge the case but the hypotheticals that arise from it.