The date for the trial of Ronald Dwight Lee has been set for April 1, 2020. A 12-person jury will determine if there is enough evidence to support the state’s claim that Lee murdered Loretta Williams at her Cove home.
The trial is expected to last one month as the state and Lee’s lawyer present evidence and arguments. Judge Thomas Powers will reside over the court.
Lee was arrested and arraigned in February and charged with the Nov. 17, 2018, murder of Williams, his soon-to-be ex-wife. He has remained in custody at the Union County Jail since then. During the Aug. 27 hearing, Lee pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
During the August plea hearing, the state proved it was rightfully holding Lee without bail, presenting 50 pieces of evidence to show it would be reasonable to keep him in custody. The evidence presented at the hearing included the audio of the 911 phone call Williams made and information regarding the possible weapons used.
Williams was killed the morning of Nov. 17 around 1 a.m. according to the 911 call. Williams named Lee in the call, and when police arrived at her home they found her dead.
The house’s sliding glass door had been shattered and Williams was on the floor with three gunshot wounds in the head and one in the chest, according to evidence submitted to the court and the testimony of the lead investigator, Union County Sheriff’s Office Det. Jason McKaig.
During Lee’s plea hearing, Union County District Attorney Kelsie McDaniel, the lead attorney for the State of Oregon on this case, said the state intends to call around 80 witnesses to testify. Lee will be represented by Dean Gushwa of Pendleton, a criminal defense attorney who was appointed by the court.