On Wednesday, attorney Bryan Young and the client he was representing in a heated divorce battle, Cayann Patterson, 49, were shot and killed.
There is few more contentious situations than a heated divorce battle, particularly is there is a history of abuse. One party often knows he or she needs to leave the situation, but will be put in a dangerous situation once papers are filed. And, sometimes the worst of nightmares can quickly become reality. On Wednesday, Norman, Oklahoma, attorney, 47 year old Bryan Young, and the client he was representing in a divorce, Cayann Patterson, 49, were shot and killed.
Young had first been a jockey for nine years, then a teacher and high school principal before pursuing law at Oklahoma City University. He had worked at Normal North High School for 17 years, with the last five of his tenure as principal, and was beloved by the staff and students. Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano said of his former co-worker, “Bryan was a respected colleague and friend and he will be remembered as a ferocious advocate for students. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and the many people in our community who knew him.”
Young had left to pursue law in 2014 and was an associate at Ward Glass at the time of the incident. “I have never meet a more upbeat, positive person with such a great attitude,” attorney Stan Ward said of Young. “He was well loved. This is a horrible, horrible thing that has happened.”
Patterson’s estranged husband in the battle, Timothy Michael Deffner, 56, is the suspect. It was discovered he shot the two individuals in their homes after gaining entry into each by kicking in the front doors, although it is still unclear which of the victims he shot first. The emergency phone calls came into dispatch one right after the other, in quick succession. Patterson is believed to have been at home alone at the time, but Young’s family was present. His wife told investigators she was upstairs when she heard what she described as “several loud bangs”. She hurried downstairs, and unexpectedly met the suspect outside. Deffner spared her life, telling her to get back into the house. The rest of his family was also left unharmed as he shot Bryan multiple times. The attorney died from injuries on the way to the hospital. And, a local resident tipped off law enforcement that Deffner was likely responsible for the homicides.
Patterson, who leaves behind several children, had received personal protection orders against her soon-to-be-ex prior to the incident, reporting Deffner hit her in the chest with a Taser gun at one point, then held her up against a wall with his hands around her throat. She also claimed Deffner would hide guns around the couple’s house, even in their daughter’s room. In the petition, Deffner admitted to owning firearms, claiming the guns belonged to his mother. It is unclear whether he was ever asked to surrender them. Deffner had had other run ins with the law prior to the divorce battle, as well. An arrest warrant had been issued on February 7th for five counts of forgery, and he had two pending cases for committing malicious injury to property and leaving the scene of an accident.
Police officers first found Deffner’s vehicle abandoned Wednesday morning in the Tecumseh area. Just a few hours later, they caught up to him, surrounding the man in a field. He shot himself before he could be taken into custody.