Steve E. Hamilton was sentenced today in relation to the murder of Loretta Williams

By on Friday, January 20th, 2023 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

COVE, OR- Steve E. Hamilton, who was arrested in 2019 in relation to the murder of Loretta A. Williams of Cove was sentenced in a Union County Courtroom this morning.  Hamilton was one of two men arrested for the murder.

Ronald “Ron” Lee, the other man involved in the murder was found guilty of Murder in August of 2022 and sentenced to life in prison.

Judge Hill of Hermiston sentenced Hamilton on two counts of Hindering Prosecution.  On those counts, Hamilton was sentenced to 45 months per count to run consecutively (90 months total). Hamilton was also ordered to three years’ post-prison supervision. The sentence was pursuant to a stipulation through a settlement conference.

Charges of Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Murder were dismissed based on a settlement made previously between the state and the defendant.

During sentencing William’s sister made a statement, noting that after the trial of Ronald Lee, the family was approached by jurors who stated that “Steve Hamilton is just as guilty as Ron Lee.”  During the statement, Lorretta was described as giving, the first in line to give you the shirt off of her back if you needed it.  She absolutely loved her dogs and horse.  She was excited about her new chapter in life and wanted nothing more than to be rid of Ron Lee.

When these two men took Loretta’s life, they took more than just her life.  Although no justice will ever bring her back to us the effects on her family will be everlasting.”

Hamilton was also allowed to make a statement in which he said, I am so so very sorry for your loss. I am sorry that I didn’t have the strength to stop Ron Lee.  I was scared and I didn’t know what to do.  I was forced at gunpoint to drive.  I was forced to sit there and not do anything for the threat of my life, my family’s life and I froze, I could not do anything.  I was repeatedly told to shut up and just drive.”

Hamilton also noted that he was told that if he told anything about this, he [Ron] would do the same thing to him [Steve], his family, and kids as he had done to her [Williams], 

Concluding his statement Hamilton said, “I still have nightmares about that night…I was so scared.”  “I just ask for your forgiveness that I wasn’t strong enough to stop him.”  I am a good person, I never intended for this to happen.”

“I am so sorry again to Loretta’s family and friends.”

Details on the August 2022 sentencing of Ronald Lee can be found at

**Hamilton’s mug shot is a stock photo from 2019**