Son, lawyer: Problems preceded shooting

Joseph Shuba, accused of killing his wife last month, could face trial in July.

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DAYTON -- Joseph Shuba, 58, pleaded not guilty last week to the charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife, Suzanne Shuba, at their home last month.

According to Columbia County Prosecuting Attorney Rea Culwell, Joseph Shuba admitted after his arrest that he shot his wife with a .22-caliber handgun.

Shuba was charged with first-degree murder and bail set at $700,000.

Joseph Shuba's attorney, C. Dale Flack, said his investigation is still continuing, but indicated Joseph Shuba may have been subject to long-term spousal abuse.

Flack said he has requested police records from Butte County and Paradise, Calif., where Joseph and Suzanne lived before moving to Dayton.

"I have talked with the Shubas' children, and they paint quite a different picture than the police reports," Flack said.

Their son, Josh Shuba, said his mother had a long history of mental health issues and would periodically "flip out" on his father.

"He actually, I thought, did a hell of a job just ignoring it," Josh Shuba said. "My mom was not all there, and everybody knew it. We never tried to get her help. It was just mom."

According to Josh Shuba, in many ways his childhood was pretty normal. His father worked hard to provide for the family, and the family spent a lot of time together. Josh Shuba said he and his sister would get season passes to amusement parks, and go to ball games with their father.

"I still, to this day, love the San Francisco Giants, and it's because of that," Josh Shuba said. "It was great growing up."

Despite the good times, Shuba said the issues with his mother were never far off.

"She believed herself to be this Amazonian power woman," Josh Shuba said. "She'd always tell me growing up how strong our bloodline was."

Josh Shuba said his mother, who was much larger than her husband, was obsessed with television shows and mysticism and collected swords and weapons. He also said his mother displayed manic-depressive behaviors.

Despite the odd behavior, Josh Shuba wasn't aware that his parents were having marital problems until after the shooting.

"I was having trouble understanding what happened," Josh Shuba said. "I didn't know they had separate bedrooms."

Josh said he contacted his parents' neighbors in Dayton, hoping to get some information that would explain his father's actions.

"I wanted them to tell me how bad it was," Josh Shuba said, adding that everyone he spoke with had glowing things to say about his parents. "It just made it even more dumbfounding. They did a great job keeping it away from everybody."

Joseph Shuba will have a pre-trial hearing June 9, and then possibly face trial in July. He currently remains in jail.

"I think even if he sold everything he had, he might be able to (post bail), but that's about it," Flack said this week.

Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.

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