DA plans to charge suspect with murder


An Oregon corrections officer is dead and a man authorities say he stopped to help at a roadside crash is jailed on suspicion of murder.

Buddy Ray Herron, 42, of Helix died around midnight Monday at St. Anthony Hospital after calling 9-1-1 on his assailant, according to Pendleton police.

Herron was en route to work at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, Pendleton, when he spotted a crashed 2001 Subaru Legacy Wagon on Highway 11 about three miles outside Pendleton. Police at 11:20 p.m. received Herron’s 9-1-1 call, reporting he had been stabbed and his 2000 Nissan Frontier pickup had been stolen, Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts said.

An Oregon State Police trooper responded and found Herron bleeding on the side of the road. Paramedics took Herron to St. Anthony Hospital, Pendleton.

State police discovered the wrecked Subaru was reported stolen out of Portland and was believed involved, shortly before the wreck, in a burglary on Riverside Avenue on the Pendleton outskirts.

Around 1 this morning, Stanfield police spotted Herron’s pickup and tried to stop it, according to state police. The truck crashed and police arrested the driver, Joshua Charles Weeks, 22, of Multnomah County. Police reported Weeks suffered minor injuries and refused medical attention.

OSP booked Weeks into the Umatilla County Jail, Pendleton, this morning on a charge of murder.

Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus said he plans to arraign Weeks on murder Wednesday afternoon and take the case to a grand jury next week.  Primus said Weeks has some criminal background. His office is looking into Weeks’ connections to Umatilla County and is trying to reach his probation officer in Multnomah County.

Herron’s is the third killing this year in Umatilla County.

Andrea Neistadt, executive assistant at the prison, said Herron had worked at the medium security prison since December 2007. She said staff this morning are shocked about Herron’s death and expressing concerning for his wife and their four children.

“It’s just very hard to put ino words,” she said. “He was reporting to duty and stopped to help someone in need.”

Some of Herron’s workmates were with the family at the hospital she said, and state Corrections Director Max Williams and Deputy Director Mitch Morrow arrived at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution early this morning from Salem to tell staff personally about Herron’s death.  

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