Carson man to be charged in murder of former Dayton resident

A former manager of the Friends In Service Helping Focus House is scheduled for arraignment Monday in Modesto, Calif., on charges he murdered a former Dayton resident in 1994.

Modesto Police Department investigators believe Scott Aaron Stewart, 30, is responsible for the March 1994 murder of 40-year-old Paul Michael Wathem. Stewart is currently at the Carson City Jail waiting to be transported to Modesto where he will be booked on the charge.

Stewart was originally arrested June 6 on an aggravated assault charge stemming from a domestic dispute. He was interviewed by Modesto investigators on Tuesday, and subsequently arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder on a warrant that was issued later that day out of Stanislaus County, Calif.

Although Stewart has the right to contest extradition, he waived it in a justice court hearing. He is scheduled for transport to California prior to Monday's hearing. A Carson City Jail employee said a date for the extradition cannot be announced for security purposes.

An associate of Wathem's said he lived in Dayton working as a diesel mechanic prior to moving out of the area in the early 1990s. At the time, she said, he was married with two children.

Modesto Police Department spokesman Terry Miller said information that led investigators to Stewart came from a tip. The murder investigation had not produced any leads or motive in the fatal shooting.

Wathem's daughter, then 16, found him unconscious and bleeding in his Modesto home. He died on the way to the hospital.

"We didn't know much at the time," Miller said. "The detectives basically got a lucky break which led them to look in Stewart's direction.

Although he could not elaborate on the interrogation, Miller said there was enough information to "convince a judge to sign an arrest warrant."

Stewart is married with three children, according to reports. He lived at the Focus Homeless Shelter - at 56 Gibson Ave. - prior to his arrest.

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