Berkeley writer Diana Paxson on the mend after stabbing

Paxson told The Scanner that what happened Friday had been the culmination of "a series of difficulties" with Byron DeCles over the past year.

Berkeley writer Diana Paxson on the mend after stabbing
On Sunday, Diana Paxson wrote that she and her adult son, Ian Grey, were "back from the hospital and sore but functional" after being stabbed at Greyhaven, her Berkeley home. Diana Paxson

Fantasy author Diana L. Paxson has begun sharing her story online about being stabbed by a relative at her home in Berkeley on Friday.

Writing on Facebook over the weekend, 80-year-old Paxson said she and her adult son, Ian Grey, were "wounded when Byron DeCles, a member of our extended family, broke through the front door, slashing wildly with a small knife."

Paxson lives in a "literary household called Greyhaven" on El Camino Real in Berkeley, according to her online profiles. As an author, she has been prolific.

"Her best-known works are the Westria novels, and the later books in the Avalon series, which she first co-wrote with Marion Zimmer Bradley, then — after Bradley's death — took over sole authorship."

On Sunday, Paxson wrote on Facebook that she and her son were "back from the hospital and sore but functional."

She wrote that her wounds were shallow but "in very vulnerable places."

"Ian had 8 or 9 cuts, 5 needing sutures, requiring a few sutures," she wrote in her Facebook post. "The most dangerous hit his left ear but did not touch the ear drum. I got 2 needing a few sutures, a shallow slice on my neck and one that nicked the left temporal artery, resulting in a remarkable amount of blood on the floor."

She said her son's shoulder had also been injured when DeCles "threw a 2x4 we had been using to brace the door at him. He then ran off."

Paxson managed to call 911 while applying pressure to her head wound with a wad of paper towels.

"The police came quickly, and I got my first ambulance ride," she wrote, adding, "To be continued…"

"Very grateful to the members of our community"

Reached by phone late Tuesday afternoon, Paxson said she had spent the whole day responding to the many well wishes she'd received from supporters and friends.

Her Facebook post about what happened has already drawn several hundred comments.

"We are currently being very, very grateful to the members of our community — our local community and the larger community — who have been sending us energy for protection," she told The Scanner. "It’s been a very difficult time and we are also incredibly relieved and grateful to the Oakland Police Department for actually being able to find him."

Earlier in the day, police arrested DeCles in Oakland on a warrant from the Berkeley case.

Berkeley double stabbing suspect arrested in Oakland
Byron DeCles, 21, was arrested Tuesday shortly before 4 a.m. on a warrant related to the Berkeley case, jail records show.

Paxson said she and her son were "recovering well" from their injuries.

"We look forward to being able to resume our usual schedule of events with our community," she said.

She said she and Grey now need to look into several home repairs stemming from Friday's incident. They plan to call the Family Justice Center in Oakland, which helps victims with a range of services in the aftermath of crimes.

"We're very happy to hear that there is such a thing," she said.

Paxson said what happened Friday had been the culmination of "a series of difficulties" with DeCles over the past year, which may have stemmed from or been exacerbated by untreated head injuries linked to multiple vehicle collisions.

"He never went to the hospital to be checked out," she said. "We’re hoping that at least he’ll get checked out now."

Paxson said medication can also help with these types of issues, but only if people take it.

"The light bulb has to want to be changed," she said, adding: "Our whole mental system needs a lot more support than it’s been getting. That’s something to think about."

Greyhaven home in Berkeley: a famous literary haunt

According to, Paxson's home in Berkeley, dubbed Greyhaven, is "famous for being a center and home to a number of science fiction and fantasy writers, as well as many social and literary events."

Paxson has lived in the home since 1971, often with members of her extended family and literary circle.

Paxson "has served as First Office of the Covenant of the Goddess, Steerswoman of The Troth and is active in the Pagan and Heathen community for decades. She is also a founder of the Society for Creative Anachronism, known in that organization as Countess Diana Listmaker," according to The Wild Hunt, "an independent news agency, focused only on the Pagan, Heathen, Witchcraft and polytheist community."

Paxson is the sister-in-law of Marion Zimmer Bradley, who won widespread acclaim with the publication of The Mists of Avalon in 1982.

Berkeley police search for suspect in Claremont stabbing
BPD lifted the shelter-in-place advisory just before 9:40 p.m., according to a Nixle alert. Police are still looking for suspect Byron DeCles.

In recent years, the history of the home was introduced to an entirely different audience when it was featured in Season 5 of the Netflix documentary series "Last Chance U," which focused on the Laney College football team.

During filming, one of the featured football players — a nephew of Paxson's — lived at Greyhaven. Netflix used the home's name as the title for Episode 4 of the season, which aired in 2020.

In addition to the college football narrative, the "Greyhaven" episode features interviews with Paxson as well as interior and exterior shots of the home on El Camino Real.

The episode also highlighted some of the contrasts between the college football player and his older Pagan relatives.

While his relatives described biannual bardic circles and all-night Viennese waltzes to celebrate New Year's, the young football player, RJ Stern, said it could be "hard to relate" to them.

Having the young Stern as a resident was a change for Paxson, too.

"The previous athletics mostly involved, uh, sword. Sword and shield," Paxson said in one interview. "He is the first of his type here, yeah. We have all learned a lot more about football than we knew when he moved in."

The Scanner will continue to follow this story and provide updates on the case.

Update: Byron DeCles was charged Dec. 13 with two counts of attempted murder and misdemeanor elder abuse in connection with the Dec. 8 stabbing at Greyhaven, court records show.

He was also charged with misdemeanor battery in connection with an incident July 30 and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury in connection with an incident Oct. 29, according to court records.

On Dec. 14, he entered not-guilt pleas in connection with the case.

He is set to return to court Jan. 17 for a procedural hearing.

Read more about Greyhaven on the Grendelheim website. Read more about author Diana L. Paxson.

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