Report: Armed Protestor At Oregon Refuge Was Once Convicted Of Murder

One of the men who has been engaged in the standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is a convicted murderer, according to an original report from the Oregonian Wednesday.

Neil Sigurd Wampler, now 68, was convicted in 1977 of second degree murder in the state of California for killing his father with a “16-inch rod” after his father Forey Edward Wampler allegedly made a derogatory comment against Wampler’s girlfriend.

While the Oregonian reported that Wampler denied he was a convicted murderer when asked, the newspaper contacted a commander at the St. Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s office in California who confirmed–after watching online footage–that the man in the compound video was the same Wampler he knew who had been convicted of murder.

Many of the men at the wildlife preserve are known to be carrying firearms. The Oregonian noted that it had not confirmed whether Wampler was carrying a gun at the refuge, but in an interview with the newspaper he did confirm that he was armed. With what? It was unclear. The Oregonian reported that Wampler “has been outspoken about gun rights,” including penning a letter to the local paper in support of a sheriff who had taken a stand against curbing gun rights.

Wampler was released from prison in 1981, the Oregonian reported. He joined the armed siege at the preserve after seeing a call to join the protest. Wampler–like many of the men holed up in Oregon–was also present for the Cliven Bundy standoff in Nevada against the Bureau of Land Management in 2014.

It has been two and a half weeks since the standoff began in Oregon. Federal authorities have been reticent to engage with the armed militiamen out of fear that such a confrontation could turn violent like past clashes at Ruby Ridge and Waco have. But Wednesday, Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown declared that “this spectacle of lawlessness must end.”

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