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Roseville, Calif. – On Friday, August 24, Roseville Police officers arrested John Donato Ruffner, 25, of Sacramento on suspicion of homicide. The arrest was in connection with the death of Christopher Eugene Gregory, of Citrus Heights, who died on January 24, 2007 at the age of 21.

Three men, later identified as Ruffner, Gregory and another yet-unidentified man, are suspected of going to a home on Clinton Avenue in Roseville on January 24, breaking down the door and assaulting the 19-year-old male resident with baseball bats. The resident armed himself with a knife and stabbed Gregory, apparently in self-defense. The three suspects then fled the area in a silver sedan.


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A short time later, the driver of a silver sedan, suspected to be Ruffner, was seen dumping Gregory at the corner of Watt Avenue and Orange Grove Avenue, in North Highlands. The driver left Gregory and drove away. Gregory was pronounced dead shortly afterwards, with stab wounds to his torso. 

Ruffner is considered a suspect in Gregory’s death under California’s “felony murder rule.”   In California, any killing that occurs in the commission of an inherently dangerous felony is treated as first degree murder.

Gregory was stabbed while he and Ruffner were allegedly committing a felony–forcing their way into the home and committing an aggravated assault on the Roseville resident. The Roseville resident was not charged in the death because he appeared to have been acting in self-defense.

Ruffner is being held without bail in the Placer County Jail on suspicion of murder, burglary and aggravated assault in connection with this case, and on an unrelated Sacramento County warrant for possession of drug paraphernalia. His arraignment is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, August 28, in the Placer County Jail courtroom.

The investigation is still active, pending the identification and arrest of the remaining suspect. Anyone with any information on this case is asked to call the Roseville Police Department Investigation Unit at (916)774-5070, or Roseville Crime Stoppers at (916)783-STOP (783-7867).