HUMANSVILLE, Mo.-- -

An Ozarks family is convinced the man they love killed another man only in self-defense, but Thursday he's charged with first degree murder.

58-year-old Steve Ball is charged in the shooting death of his daughter's 37-year-old fiance Daniel Houston outside Houston's Humansville home.  Wednesday we talked with Houston's father who was devastated and confused as to how an argument could escalate to murder.  Thursday we heard the other side.

"It was a shock because Steve isn't a violent person, not at all, no," say Ball's sister-in-law and granddaughter.

Outside the Polk County courthouse they are coming to his defense because he's not here to defend himself.  But Wednesday they say that's exactly what he did.

"It hurts me that people say he is a murderer and he should die.  My grandpa had every right to defend himself," Ashley Ball tells us.

According to police Steve Ball went to Daniel Houston's Humansville home to help his daughter.  He thought he heard Houston abusing her.  Ball's family says it wouldn't have been the first time.

"This is continual, him beating her and her calling her dad in the middle of the night to come rescue her," says Ball's sister-in-law Vicki Cumbie.

This time Ball and Houston argued.  Ball stayed in his truck but things still got physical before he shot the younger man in the stomach.

According to police Houston repeatedly slammed his fist into Ball's windshield until it shattered.  That was after allegedly pushing his daughter.  So is there an argument for self defense?  We decided to ask an expert.

"Under Missouri law you can defend yourself if you have a reasonable belief that you're in danger of some bodily injury," but, says attorney Doug Fredrick: "Your response needs to be proportionate to the perceived threat."

Prosecutors don't seem to think in this case it was-- hitting Ball with a first degree murder charge.  His family isn't denying a man died; they're just defending why ball did it.

"He would do anything for anybody but you don't mess with his kids and you beat his daughter," Cumbie concludes.

Ball's granddaughter says her grandpa is disabled and can't stand up.  She says he clearly felt threatened, even from inside his car.

Daniel Houston has never been charged with domestic violence involving Ball's daughter, but he was convicted of second degree assault in 2000 and sentenced to five years in the Department of Corrections.

In addition to first degree murder Ball faces several other charges including child endangerment because he fired the gun while his 16-year-old grandson was trying to hold Daniel Houston back.
 
After he shot Houston, Ball allegedly told the teen and another boy with them to just "let him die."