The Death of Stephen Burns

Stephen Burns was thirteen when he was stabbed to death by his mother, obstetrician Donna Marie Anderson, on February 24, 2002. There were several warning signs leading up to the death of Stephen Burns, which pointed out that Donna Marie Anderson was not mentally well.

According to an article in the Pioneer Press, ‘Not woman we knew’ :
“She recently had enrolled in a series of self-awareness sessions through Landmark Education Corp. , a self-improvement program based in San Francisco. Anderson participated in multiple sessions, but Landmark asked her not to participate anymore after employee Josh Watters overheard a conversation among participants in Landmark’s Edina office.’They had just said that she had expressed that the medical community in Minneapolis is being run by the Mafia and that she had to get out of the state.’ ”

Cult News elaborates on the history of other incidents related to criminal acts by other individuals who had previously been involved in the Landmark Forum training, in the article: Alleged murderer and sniper linked to Landmark Education. This article discusses incidents of psychosis reported after Werner Erhard’s est Training, and cites The New York Times article Reports of Psychosis After Erhard Course.

The details involving the events leading up to the death of Stephen Burns are described in the article cited above, ‘Not woman we knew’, and more information can also be found at the following articles. Feel free to read at your leisure to learn more background on this tragedy :

Cult News, Alleged murderer and sniper linked to Landmark Education, June 21, 2006

The Berkeley Daily Planet, Mom sentenced for fatally stabbing son, July 6, 2002

San Francisco Chronicle, 37 years for mom who killed son, July 6, 2002

San Francisco Chronicle, Slain boy’s mother saw him as angel, March 10, 2002

The Berkeley Daily Planet, Psych review ordered of mother who killed son, March 6, 2002

The Stanford Daily, Former resident charged in stabbing, March 6, 2002

The Berkeley Daily Planet, Slain Burlingame boy called bright and giving, March 4, 2002

The Berkeley Daily Planet, Woman accused of killing son pleads guilty in court, March 2, 2002

Pioneer Press, ‘Not woman we knew’, March 1, 2002

San Francisco Chronicle, Mom accused of killing son demands to speak to press, February 28, 2002


2 Responses

  1. Obviously the mother had serious mental problems before she took Landmark’s programs. To implicate Landmark is a false argument. If you read the paperwork that Landmark requires participants to fill out and sign, she would have been excluded had their been any suggestion of mental problems.

    The mother likely would have committed these acts in any event.

    Unstable people can interact with many different organizations: your school, university, hiking club, church group, etc… There could be one in your midst now; does that mean that you are responsible for their actions?

    Disclosure: while I participated in many of Landmark’s courses I’ve never worked for them. I’ve benefited greatly from their unique work.

  2. Dear “Anonymous”,
    It is interesting that you feel that Landmark Education was implicated in this tragedy, however that was certainly not stated in the blog post.

    The blog post has links and references to ten sources for more information at the bottom of the post. I encourage the reader to read up on more news articles for more background and information, and draw their own conclusions.

    Perhaps other readers might also like to comment on Landmark Forum and the other factors that predated the incident.


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