March will be McDonald’s month

By on Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – Felony trials during COVID are all being heard in the biggest courtroom, located in Hermiston, to allow for distancing, and one trial will take up more than the typical one day to a week time frame. Jonathan Lee McDonald, 33, of Milton-Freewater, is charged with murdering George Martin on Jan. 3 of last year along with three counts of first-degree robbery and four counts of second-degree robbery.

“This case, because of the number of charges, is actually set for the entire month of March,” Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus said.

McDonald’s accomplice on an alleged criminal spree has already said he’s guilty. Michael James Metcalfe, who was 20 at the time of the crimes, pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree robbery, second-degree murder, and numerous other charges back in June. Metcalfe is in prison serving a life sentence with a possibility of parole. He must serve a minimum of 32.5 years of that sentence before he can apply for a reduction.

Primus said a trial readiness conference in the case against McDonald is scheduled for December 1. The case against McDonald is being handled by Oregon Department of Justice Senior Assistant Attorney General Kurt Miller.

“He assisted with this investigation,” he said. “Kurt Miller is one of those individuals that you look at as an expert in this area.”

Primus said Miller was called in because of his expertise in complex cases as well as Umatilla County’s staff shortage in the district attorney’s office at that time. He will be assisted by attorneys from Umatilla County.