Murder suspect enters pleas, will be sentenced
The Arizona resident charged with the June 2010 murder of Dennis Ross at his McMinnville home has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide, according to Yamhill County Deputy District Attorney Alicia Eagan.
He also pleaded guilty to an original charge of unlawful use of a weapon.
Mitchell Ramon, 28, will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday before Yamhill County Circuit Court Judge John Collins. Criminally negligent homicide is a Class B felony and the weapon charge is a Class C felony. The defense and prosecution will both present a sentencing recommendation. Ross' relatives will have the opportunity to address the court.
Judge Eric Bergstrom presided over a settlement conference at which time Eagan and Ramon's court-appointed attorney, Elizabeth Baker of Eugene, resolved the case short of a four-to-six-week trial that was scheduled to start Tuesday morning with jury selection.
Bergstrom has a Multnomah County docket to deal with Tuesday, so Collins will handle the sentencing phase of the case. He was scheduled to preside over the trial.
More than a year passed between when Ross died and when Ramon was located in Arizona and returned to Yamhill County. He originally refused to waive extradition back to Oregon. Gov. John Kitzhaber's office filed a formal request with the Arizona governor's office to have him returned.
Ross, 60, was found dead on the Saturday of June 19, 2010, at his residence at 1627 N.W. Sixth St.
Based on their investigation, detectives believe he was shot to death the afternoon or evening of Thursday, June 17. They said he died of a single gunshot.
Ross was last seen two days before his body was discovered. Officers were called by a concerned neighbor. The conducted a welfare check and located the body.
He lived alone. He had not worked in recent years and largely kept to himself, according to neighbors.
At the time of the murder, police said items were missing from Ross' red, single-story, ranch-style residence, but it had not been ransacked.
According to detectives, Ramon was visiting McMinnville when the slaying occurred. Eying him as a suspect for some time, they had been monitoring his whereabouts and activities in Arizona.
It's believed he had no previous ties to McMinnville or Yamhill County.