Two Paso Robles men sentenced for murders

October 28, 2015
John Steven Danner

John Steven Danner

A pair of Paso Robles men received prison sentences Tuesday for second-degree murder convictions.

San Luis Obispo Judge Michael Duffy sentenced John Steven Danner, 25, to 40 years to life in prison. Duffy sentence Herbert Brown, 32, to 15 years to life.

Their crimes are unrelated. Danner shot and killed his mother’s boyfriend, and Brown beat to death his 22-month-old daughter.

A jury convicted Danner last month of second-degree murder with an enhancement for discharging a firearm during the killing.

On Feb. 7, 2014, Danner shot 47-year-old Billy Don Law 13 times. Danner, Law and Danner’s mother all lived in the same home. The shooting occurred after Law had a loud argument with Danner’s mother, Danner said.

Brown pleaded no contest last month to second-degree murder. Brown’s conviction did not come with an enhancement.

Herbert Brown III

Herbert Brown III

In Feb. 2013, Brown assaulted his daughter, Lily Sommer-Brown at their Santa Ysabel Avenue home. The beating left her not breathing and with visible head and body injuries. She also suffered a fractured skull.

Brown called 911 on Feb. 18, 2013 to report his daughter had stopped breathing. The toddler died of her injuries at a children’s hospital at Stanford University.

A third Paso Robles man recently convicted of second-degree murder was sentenced earlier this month. Thomas Yanaga, 53, received 40 years to life in prison for the killing of Atascadero resident Marshall Savoy, 32.

Yanaga shot Savoy in March after the Atascadero man tried to break up an argument between Yanaga and his wife at their home.



  1. Lilylu says:

    I don’t understand this sentencing either. A man beats his defenseless 22 month old to death and gets 15 to life? With good behavior and work credits he could be out in 10. Another man kills his low life mothers boyfriend that has abused and intimidated both of them for years and gets 40? That is just ridiculous! Our criminal justice system is broken!!!

    (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
  2. Pelican1 says:

    They both should have been executed.

    (-3) 11 Total Votes - 4 up - 7 down
  3. kaylett says:

    Really!!! Are you new to SLO County. If your going to commit a crime do it here.

    (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  4. GrayGranny2010 says:

    The comments here ditto my feelings. However the sentencing guidelines relate to Danner, I have no opinion but for Brown who beat a 22 month old baby to death, seems the court does not value the lives of children. Both situations are sad with many families lives being forever changed. Our judicial system is so broken from small claims to family law to criminal.

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  5. LAH says:

    For the Life of me I do not understand why Brown gets a slap on the wrist for killing his child and Danner, (who was already traumatized by this tweeking unpredictable abusive lowlife, shot to protect his Mom), gets 40???
    I dont care enhancement or not, this makes ZERO sense to me.

    (22) 24 Total Votes - 23 up - 1 down
    • SLO_Johnny says:

      Brown probably had a better lawyer. There is a sentence enhancement for 1st degree murder of an infant but I’m not sure if there is one for 2nd degree murder.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  6. centralcoastscott says:

    So Brown gets a 15 year minimum for beating his defenseless 22 month old daughter to death. And Danner gets a 40 year minimum for killing an adult. This seems odd to me.


    (33) 35 Total Votes - 34 up - 1 down

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