PORTLAND – An Aloha man accused of gunning down the father of his grandson says he did it to protect his family, according to attorneys in Washington County court Tuesday.
Jeff Brian Johnson, 52, is accused of killing 22-year-old Ryan Lee Johnson outside an Aloha Thriftway store in January of 2012.
Despite their same last name, Jeff and Ryan Johnson are not related, but Jeff's daughter and Ryan had a son together.
Both sides agree that Jeff shot Ryan, the questions surround his frame of mind when it happened. Defense attorneys claim Jeff shot Ryan to protect his daughter and grandson.
A restraining order was briefly filed in 2012 by the suspect's daughter against Ryan, and he was also convicted of telephonic harassment against her.
Witnesses said Jeff ran up to Ryan at the entrance of the Thriftway on Farmington Road, shot him six times in the head and then fled in a car. Jeff was arrested minutes later.
Jeff's attorneys claim that the two men disagreed over custody issues regarding the grandson. They also said that Jeff tried to pay Ryan off to get him out of their lives. They said when that didn't work, Jeff bought a gun and weeks later, killed Ryan.
The defense is trying to prove that Jeff was under "extreme emotional disturbance" during the crime, which would allow for a reduced charged of manslaughter, punishable with a 10-year sentence.
If the state can prove he was not under extreme emotional disturbance, he will face murder charges, punishable with a life sentence and chance of parole after 25 years.
(KGW Reporter Nina Mehlhaf contributed to this report)