Rice plea hearing set for Dec. 17

Written by Kelly Ducote October 15, 2013 08:10 am

The defense attorney for Joel Rice waived reading of the charges at Rice's arraignment Tuesday morning.

Joel Rice, left, talks with his attorney at his arraignment Tuesday morning. Photo by Chris Baxter.
Joel Rice, left, talks with his attorney at his arraignment Tuesday morning. Photo by Chris Baxter.
 

Rice, 57, is charged with seven counts of criminal mischief in the first degree, five counts of aggravated animal abuse in the first degree and two counts of animal abuse in the first degree in connection with Glass Hill Road cattle shootings that occurred in August.

Seven cows were found shot on Rice's property in mid-August, according to the Union County Sheriff's Office. The animals were trespassing on his property, officials said.

The case is being handled by Wallowa County District Attorney Mona Williams due to Rice's involvement with the Union County drug treatment court. Rice is a psychiatrist and addiction specialist in La Grande.

A plea hearing was set for 11 a.m. Dec. 17 in the first floor courtroom at the Union County Courthouse. Judge Brian Dretke has been assigned to the case, Judge Russell west said Tuesday, so he will handle case matters from now on.