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June 11, 2020

DAILYKENN.com -- Owen Melin, 22, was shot and killed during a home invasion while visiting friends at an apartment in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

"Joshua S. Pilley Jr. was arrested June 9 on one count of felony murder and is being held without bail," according to crowsneststpete.com.

The victim was a student at USF St. Petersburg.

From crowsneststpete.com ▼

A 19-year-old St. Petersburg man has been arrested for the murder of USF St. Petersburg student Owen Melin, police announced today.

Melin, 22, was shot and killed during a home invasion while visiting friends at an apartment at 458 Fourth Ave. S, six blocks from campus, on May 27.

Joshua S. Pilley Jr. was arrested June 9 on one count of felony murder and is being held without bail at the Pinellas County Jail. Two other men involved in the home invasion are still being sought by police.

Melin, a psychology major, transferred to the university last fall from St. Petersburg College. Family and friends described him as a kind, passionate person who loved to work out and tinker with old cars.

His father, Charles Melin, praised the work of St. Petersburg police.

“We are very, very impressed with the St. Pete Police Department,” he said. “The detectives have done an absolutely outstanding job.

“They are not backing down an inch until everyone involved is brought in,” Melin said.

The Melin family is offering a reward for information leading to further arrests until Sept. 10. 

According to a police affidavit dated May 29, Owen Melin had gone to the apartment to visit friends. He was inside with one friend while three others were outside on the front porch.

A shirtless, heavyset man approached the men on the porch and asked about the friend who was inside with Melin, police said.

The man left, but returned 10 minutes later with two other men and what police called “a modified rifle.”

The shirtless man ordered the three friends on the porch “to get on the ground” and forced one of them to unlock the apartment.

One or two minutes later, police said, the friends on the porch heard gunshots and the intruders fled.

Detectives found five 9mm shell casings in the kitchen near the body of Melin, who was pronounced dead by members of St. Petersburg Fire/Rescue. He was shot once in his left chest.

A fingerprint was recovered from a car outside the apartment by detectives, identifying Pilley Jr. as a suspect. He was also identified by a witness.

Police urge anyone with information regarding the home invasion to call its non-emergency line at 727-893-7780.

Pilley Jr., a St. Petersburg resident who played football at Gibbs High School in 2019, has had previous brushes with the law.

On Feb. 28, court records show, he was involved in a collision at Interstate 275 and 38th Avenue N that led to citations for careless driving and driving with a suspended, revoked license. He was scheduled to appear in court on those charges on June 15.

In October 2019, Pilley Jr. was a passenger in a car that fled when police tried to make a traffic stop. When  the car eventually came to a stop, Pilley Jr. and the driver ran from police and  were  found hiding in a shed behind a residence.

Police arrested Pilley on a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer without violence, but the Pinellas-Pasco state attorney’s office dropped the charge a month later.

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