Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Customer charged in vendor's death

Trader's World dealer killed in March

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

MONROE - An Eaton man has been indicted and arrested in the March killing of a popular vendor at Trader's World in Monroe, officials said Monday.

A Warren County grand jury indicted Estel "Wayne" Buck, 55, on charges of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the March 8 fatal shooting of William Doolittle, Jr., 41.

Officials arrested Buck on Sunday at his Preble County home. He remains jailed in Preble County, and is expected to be transferred to Warren County and will face a hearing later this week, assistant Warren County Prosecutor Keith Anderson said.

Doolittle's body was found in the back of his van at the Stony Ridge Inn on Ohio 63 in Monroe. A Monroe police officer found Doolittle dead several hours after the flea market had closed. Authorities believe Doolittle was killed elsewhere.

"At this time we believe the motive for the murder was robbery," Monroe Police Sgt. Brian Curlis said.

Doolittle dealt in tools and appliances at Trader's World Flea Market. Buck was a customer, but Curlis declined to detail the relationship between the two men.

Authorities also would not release details of the killing or what led them to Buck.

"His name was brought up early on in the investigation," Curlis said. "Mr. Buck has stayed a suspect in the investigation."

Authorities searched Buck's home on March 18, but he declined to say what they may have taken.

Police distributed numerous flyers about Doolittle's killing for several days after his body was found.

Officials are still urging people to come forward with any information they may have about Doolittle's death.

Doolittle's was the first killing in three years in this city that straddles Butler and Warren counties.

"Getting Mr. Buck off the street is a relief to a lot of people, especially Mr. Doolittle's family," Curlis said. "(Deputies) approached him outside his residence. He didn't seem to be surprised."

Warren County records show Buck was sentenced to a year in prison in 1992 for grand theft of a van and tools.


E-mail daveck@fuse.net

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