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Wife Arrested After Husband Shot Dead

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was Fred and Gia McLain’s Friday night routine, bowling and karaoke at Regal Lanes, where Gia captivated the room with her singing and Fred usually kept time with more than a few drinks, friends said.

But this Friday, Fred, 53, and Gia, 44, didn’t call it a night when they got home. Just after midnight, after a vigorous argument, Gia McLain picked up the .357 handgun kept loaded in the house and shot her husband of two years once in the head, police said.

Gia McLain then called 911 and reported what had happened, police said. Her husband, a mechanic who worked for the city of Santa Ana, was dead when police arrived, said Orange Police Lt. Ed Tunstall.

Gia McLain, a homemaker with two children, was booked into Orange County Jail on suspicion of murder, Tunstall said.

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On Saturday, the McLains’ 75-year-old housemate lowered himself into one of the three comfortably worn recliners in the garage of the couple’s rented home on River Trail Road and acknowledged there had been troubles.

“They were two people who had problems, and it just came to a head,” said the roommate, who said he had been married to Gia McLain for about 10 years a decade ago and had remained her friend. “You can’t really blame it on either of them.”

The roommate, who asked that his name not be used, said he was half asleep when the couple arrived home arguing Friday night and he heard a single shot. When he got up, Gia McLain was dialing 911. Both of them were initially arrested, he said.

Gia McLain’s daughter and two grandchildren had been living with the family in recent months, but were at a friend’s home Friday night, he said.

The roommate said Ed McLain’s drinking had threatened to derail the couple’s 10-year relationship several times.

“When he was drinking, he was a pain. . . . When he wasn’t, he was wonderful,” the roommate said. “Ninety percent of the time it was ideal. . . . On occasion, I did mention to him [the drinking] was his own worst enemy.”

But no one anticipated violence, said the roommate and family members arriving at the neat stucco home Saturday, with its doormat announcing “One nice person and one old grouch live here.” And police said they had never been called to the home before.

“Basically, they’re both beautiful people,” said Gia McLain’s sister.

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Merle Voelske, 50, who lives next door, said he and his wife had gone to see Gia McLain sing karaoke at the bowling alley two Fridays ago.

“She was wonderful,” he said. “This completely shocked me. I sat in their garage with them just before they got married and they seemed as happy as all get out.”

Sitting in that same garage Saturday, the roommate rubbed his face. “I still can’t for the life of me figure it out.”


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