Jul. 4—LA GRANDE — A La Grande man accused of murder will soon face a Union County jury.
Ronald Lee is accused by the state of Oregon of killing his wife, Loretta Williams, in November 2018 at her home in Cove. The 74-year-old is facing charges of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, while being held without bond in the Union County Jail. Lee has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Jury selection for Lee's trial is set to begin Thursday, July 7. The jury will be selected from a pool of about 100 prospective jurors, according to the Union County Circuit Court. A date for the trial has not been set but it is expected to be completed by Aug. 5, said Union County District Attorney Kelsie McDaniel.
Lee is being represented by Dean Gushwa, a Pendleton attorney. Union County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Powers will preside over the trial, which has previously been delayed several times. It was delayed once after Lee suffered a stroke while in custody in January 2020.
The co-defendant in the case is Steve Hamilton, 68, of La Grande, who is being charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Hamilton is also being held at the Union County Correctional Facility.
Dick Mason is a reporter with The Observer primarily covering the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.