A Bend man pleaded no contest Monday to one of the charges in a fatal shooting last summer at Mayfield Pond east of the city.
Jesse Aaron Ray, 39, was charged with first-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and negligently wounding another. He initially pleaded not guilty to all charges on January 12.
Neil Martell, 53, of Bend was shot and killed June 30, 2022, on Bureau of Land Management land at Mayfield Pond, east of Bend.
Court records indicate Ray pleaded no contest to criminally negligent homicide on Monday following a settlement conference. The other charges were dismissed as part of the plea deal, the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office said.
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A no contest plea means the defendant doesn’t admit guilt, but is not fighting the allegation.
A few weeks after the shooting, DCSO said its detectives found evidence linking Ray to the shooting. They also learned Ray was living out of his car in the area of Stevens Road and NE 27th Street in Bend. Ray was taken into custody in July and was cited and released on charges of negligent wounding of another and unlawful use of a weapon.
Last month, DCSO said its detectives had been working for months to once again locate and arrest Ray. After a grand jury handed down an indictment, a nationwide felony warrant was issued.
DCSO said Ray was found in the State of Tabasco, Mexico, in November and transported by U.S. Marshals to the Los Angeles County Jail. He was extradited to Deschutes County on Dec. 21.
Sentencing is set for March 2.