Guilty plea in killing of Pendleton prison officer

April 23, 2013 

— A 23-year-old man pleaded guilty to killing an Oregon corrections officer while stealing the officer’s pickup truck, as part of a plea deal that will spare him the death penalty.

The prosecution says Joshua Charles Weeks faces at least 30 years in prison for the aggravated murder charge.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin July 29, the East Oregonian ( ) reported.

Weeks is accused of stabbing Buddy Ray Herron, 42, after Herron stopped a few miles outside Pendleton to offer roadside help on a November night in 2011.

Herron was headed from his home in the small Eastern Oregon town Helix to work at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution.

Weeks was arrested after a chase ended when he rolled the truck in a farm field.

In court Monday at Hermiston, Weeks was cuffed, shackled and clad in a faded yellow jailhouse jumper.

Judge Dan Hill asked him how he felt.

“Very nervous,” Weeks said.

Hill described the case against him and asked Weeks: “Is that in fact what you did?”

“Yes it is, your honor,” Weeks answered. Then he pleaded guilty.

His parents and relatives have said Weeks used methamphetamine and had a troubled past that included years in foster care and a failure to complete a high school equivalency course.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service