Gaston enters not guilty plea to murder

By Katy Nesbitt, The Observer December 21, 2012 01:02 pm

Charges stem from May 10 stabbing in Wallowa County restaurant following altercation

WALLOWA — A Wallowa County man entered a not guilty plea Wednesday morning to one count of murder stemming from a May 10 stabbing.

A grand jury handed up an indictment of murder for Michael Trent Gaston, 49, of Enterprise for the stabbing death of Lawrence Mock, 26, of Wallowa on May 17. 

Gaston’s plea hearing was originally scheduled for July 17, but was postponed three times.

Gaston and Mock are known to have been at Lear’s Main Street Pub and Grill after the restaurant had closed the night of May 9. Shortly after midnight, Wallowa County dispatch received a 911 call from the restaurant and an arrest was made within a few minutes.

Gaston has been held without bail since his arrest.

Janie Burcart of La Grande was appointed by the court to represent Gaston as his defense attorney. She requested a     seven-day trial of the court.

Judge Russell West asked that all negotiations between the district attorney and the defense be wrapped up within one month and that all pre-trial motions be filed within 45 days of the trial. The date has not yet been set.

Murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a minimum of 25 years.