News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Mill City man charged in murder of roommate

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

A Mill City man has been charged with second-degree murder after allegedly fatally shooting his roommate.

Benjamin Lyle Harris, 50, was arrested early March 21 for the killing of Brian Rendon, 52.

In a press release, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) said deputies were dispatched around 11 p.m. March 20 to a home on the 300 block of NW Alder Street, in Mill City. 

The release said the house belonged to Harris and he and Rendon lived there as roommates.

Dispatchers received reports of a male victim being shot. Upon arriving, deputies found Rendon deceased at the scene. The press release said a preliminary investigation revealed Harris allegedly shot Rendon and he was taken into custody.

At the time of the release, LCSO said detectives were continuing to investigate the killing, including gathering evidence and conducting interviews. 

Those with additional information are encouraged to contact Detective Scott Tennant 541-967-3950.

Details regarding the circumstances of the shooting or a possible motive were not available at press time. 

Affidavits for the warrant and charging documents were sealed by court order in the interest of protecting sensitive information, according to court records.

Harris was charged in Linn County Circuit Court March 22 with second-degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison. 

According to Oregon law, this charge is filed when a defendant was allegedly under “extreme emotional disturbance,” was acting recklessly, or if the killing arose from another serious felony.

Though the shooting occurred in Marion County, Linn County is proceeding with the case as LCSO was the first to respond and the incident occurred within a mile of the county line, according to court records.

Harris was ordered held without bail in the Linn County Jail.

This was Harris’ first arrest in Oregon for a major felony. 

In 2008 he was arrested in Jackson County on charges related to assaulting a police officer and pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and second-degree disorderly conduct. 

He served three days in jail and 11 months of probation.

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