Norman shooter accused of stealing insurance money from in-laws
NORMAN — A Norman man who shot and killed his estranged wife and her divorce attorney this week before turning the gun on himself was accused of cheating his in-laws out of tens of thousands of dollars in insurance money.
According to an affidavit filed in Cleveland County District Court, Timothy Michael Deffner, 55, faced five felony counts of uttering forged instruments in connection with the insurance scheme. A warrant for Deffner's arrest was issued for his arrest the day of the shootings.
Over 16 months, Deffner, who went by Michael, allegedly stole more than $67,300 in payments from an insurance company meant to cover a property damage claim on a home his in-laws, James and Charlotte Patterson, owned in the 1000 block of W. Lindsey Street, according to an FBI affidavit.
Deffner took the checks and endorsed them on behalf of a mortgage company and bank using fictitious names, according to a court affidavit. He then deposited the money into the business account for his roofing company, American Restorators LLC.
About 11 p.m. Tuesday, police say Deffner kicked in the front door of the home of his wife's divorce attorney in the 700 block of Trisha Lane. Deffner shot the attorney, Bryan Young, a former Norman North High School principal, several times. Young later died at a hospital.
A short time later, about five miles away, Norman firefighters responding to a reported fire found Cayann Deffner, 49, dead from multiple gunshot wounds at the house on W Lindsey Street. The house, which Cayann Deffner once shared with Timothy Deffner, had been set on fire.
A manhunt ensued. Police found Timothy Deffner early Wednesday hiding in a thicket about 80 yards from his pickup, parked off a gravel road in Pottawatomie County.
"We had him surrounded and he shot himself in front of about 10 officers," said Pottawatomie County Undersheriff J.T. Palmer.
It's still unclear why Timothy Deffner drove to Pottawatomie County. Norman police said they could not release any additional information Thursday.
Palmer believes Deffner could have been lost when sheriff's deputies found him.
A protective order Cayann Deffner took out against her estranged husband in August 2015 banned him from possessing a firearm for five years.
Police were called to the house on W. Lindsey Street three times for domestic disturbances in 2015 before the order was issued, according to Norman police.
"He hides guns throughout our house — most recently in my daughter's room," Cayann Patterson Deffner wrote in a 2015 application for a protective order against her estranged husband.
In her application, Deffner said her husband possessed multiple guns that belonged to her mother.
An Oklahoma County judge also granted Timothy Deffner's daughter, Emily Deffner, a five-year order of protection against her father in January 2015.
Emily Deffner also asked in her application for a protection order that her father be required to surrender all weapons to law enforcement, but the final protective order contained no such provision.
In her application, Emily Deffner claimed her father sent her pictures of himself holding a knife, along with death threats directed at her boyfriend.
"Defendant sent 68 threatening texts to me about my boyfriend, Dale Longfellow, saying he wants to kill him, is going to kill him, watch his throat bleed, hire Mexicans to kill him, etc."
Deffner also had a felony conviction for possession of a controlled dangerous substance in Oklahoma County in 1998 that should have precluded him from having a firearm.
Cayann Deffner's daughter, Ashley Roth, tried twice to obtain protective orders against Timothy Deffner in 2015. In June of that year, Roth filed for a protective order after she said her stepfather nearly hit her with his pickup and drove the vehicle through the garage door of the Lindsey Street house during a fit of rage.
"Timothy drove his truck up to my car, right after I had arrived, nearly hitting me as I walked to the front porch," Roth wrote in a the request filed in Cleveland County. "He was screaming a billion different things at me like 'I'm going to ram your car, if you don't move your car from the middle of the driveway!' I left right after that incident happened because my mom told me to because she knew he was getting dangerous."
Roth wrote that she returned that evening to find things had escalated between her mother and Timothy Deffner.
"Later that evening I came back to the house where I heard him screaming terrible things at my mother, because we didn't do some paper for him right. I followed Timothy to my mom's room while he was going hysterical and he held up a lamp and was about to throw it until I started screaming."
Roth said Timothy Deffner then began throwing items in the living room, including several beers, and several items into the pool. After kicking the front glass door as hard as he could, she said, Deffner backed his pickup into the garage door while Roth was calling the police.
Roth's protective order request also included a list of things she claimed Timothy Deffner did on a regular basis to both her and her mother.
"He threatens me and my mom," she wrote. "He steals our things so he can sell them, he'll get physical if he feels he has to, he cusses at us regularly while flipping us off, he'll try locking me out of the house and scream 'this is my house!'
"He wants me and my mom to be scared of him and lets us know he could hurt us 'if he wanted to.'"
The request for a protective order was dismissed two weeks later, when neither Roth or Timothy Deffner showed up to court.
In a second protective order request filed in July 2015, Roth wrote that Timothy Deffner assaulted her.
Roth said she arrived at the W. Lindsey Street house to pick up her dog on June 26, four days after she failed to appear in court for her first protective order request.
"He had clearly been drinking considering his attitude," Roth wrote. "He went straight to his room. ... I went to the master bedroom to get my dog (because Tim always threatens to harm him when he's in an outrage)."
Timothy Deffner locked himself and Roth's dog in the master bedroom, Roth wrote. Cayann Deffner arrived and was able to open the door.
"My mom had walked to the kitchen to call 911, because she could tell things were starting to escalate," Roth wrote. "Right when she walked away he hit me to the ground, and so I shoved him back, then he grabbed me by my hair and threw me to the ground again. Once I got up I sprinted to my mom and shortly after the police arrived."
An emergency protective order was granted on July 10, 2015. However, it was dismissed two weeks later when both Roth and Timothy Deffner again failed to appear in court.
Brianna Bailey joined The Oklahoman in January 2013 as a business writer. During her time at The Oklahoman, she has walked across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to-south down Western Avenue, and once east-to-west, tracing the old U.S. Route 66.... Read more ›
Graham Lee Brewer has covered criminal justice, the state prison system, the death penalty, and the state legislature for The Oklahoman, since joining its staff in 2013. Brewer witnessed and investigated the botched execution of Clayton Lockett,... Read more ›