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Store Owner Killed, Suspect Held

March 10, 1988

MILLICAN, Ore. (AP) _ The sole resident of this unincorporated town has been fatally shot in the country store he tended for 42 years, and a man paroled from prison three weeks ago has been charged with his murder.

William Mellin, 70, was shot in the back of the head Tuesday night, officials said.

David Ray Wareham, 41, who had worked at the store since his parole Feb. 18, was arrested an hour after the shooting and is being held without bail on murder charges, officials said. He also was charged with the attempted murder of a witness to the shooting, whom police refused to identify.

Wareham apparently went to work at the store after his release from the Oregon State Penitentiary, where he had served four months after violating his probation on a theft conviction, according to Deschutes County Sheriff Darrell Davidson.

Mellin bought his 80-acre ranch in central Oregon in April 1946, after he ended a tour of duty with the Navy as a Seabee diver during World War II.

Mellin also was postmaster of a fourth-class post office that was eliminated during the 1950s. He trapped coyotes and bobcats and for 14 years had hauled water to a nearby University of Oregon observatory.

He had been living alone since his wife died in 1975, and had tried to sell the property.

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