Accused claims self defence

Daniel Ruff told the jury he was attacked by his roommate and feared for his life before he struck Warren Welters in the head with a hammer multiple times, killing him. 

On the third week of his second-degree murder trial, Ruff, 65, took the stand to give his side of events that led to the death of 51-year-old Welters.

He said he got along “for the most part” with Welters after they moved in with each other in March 2014, but they began to argue more and more about bills in June 2015 after Welters lost his job.

Ruff said the two spent most of their time drinking, and the day Welters died (June 14, 2015) was no different.

Ruff and some friends were having a barbecue in their backyard, while Welters was upstairs. At one point, Ruff said Welters came out to the porch and called a friend of Ruff's a “f***ing whore,” before heading back inside.

By 8 p.m., Ruff had drank at least 15 beers that day, and had gone upstairs to use the bathroom. Ruff testified he found Welters upstairs, and asked him “why do you have to be such an asshole?”

After an exchange of words, Ruff says Welters attacked him, knocked him to the ground and began choking him.

“I wiggled and squirmed, and there was a hammer in a cabinet beside me that I knew was there,” Ruff said. “I took a swing and missed him, we struggled into his room, I hit him once on the side of the head and he just came back at me.”

Ruff says he struck him in the head again, knocking him face down on the bed. He then struck him three more times in the back of the head, as he lay on the bed.

Realizing what had happened, Ruff says he went to the bathroom, washed his hands and the hammer, and called 911.

Ruff told police he had found Welters dead in his bed, but didn't know what had happened to him. He said he lied because he was in shock about what happened and wanted to sober up.

The incident wasn't the first time the pair got in a physical altercation.

Several weeks prior, Ruff confronted Welters about money that had gone missing from his room. During the ensuing fight, Ruff says Welters told him: “No wonder your wife committed suicide after living with you.”

The verbal fight led to Welters attacking Ruff and choking him, according to Ruff.  

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