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Man Held in Killing of 99 Cents Clerk

March 25, 2004|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A man on parole for robbery was arrested Wednesday in the slaying of a clerk at a 99 Cents Only store in Huntington Beach two months ago.

John S. Nilsen was taken into custody without incident at his Marina del Rey home about 3:30 p.m. and charged with murder and robbery in the Jan. 29 incident that took the life of Shawna Wolfgram, 19.

Police say Nilsen, 46, walked into the store in the 16000 block of Beach Boulevard and demanded cash. Thinking he was joking, Wolfgram, in the second month of her first job, at first refused. When she screamed for help over the store's intercom, witnesses said, the robber shot her with a pistol at close range.

The shooter then ran north on Beach Boulevard with an undisclosed amount of cash.

It was unclear what led police to Nilsen. They said he has a history of violent crimes, including a 1989 conviction for an Orange County robbery for which he'd been sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was later paroled.

Wolfgram had planned to finish high school, become a nurse and get married.

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