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Police: DNA led to suspect in golf club assault

A Medford man is facing Measure 11 assault charges after police say his DNA was found on the handle of a golf club used to fracture a man's skull, jaw and orbital bone.

Jesse Ramon Ledbetter, 23, of the 1100 block of Tara Circle in Medford has been charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, second-degree burglary and first-degree criminal trespass. He is being held in the Jackson County Jail on $260,000 bail.

Ledbetter entered not guilty pleas to the charges Monday. He has a pre-trial conference scheduled for Oct. 16 in Jackson County Circuit Court, court records show.

According to an affidavit by Medford police, an unknown male assaulted Gerald Richey with a golf club at Richey's home north of Central Point July 15, 2016. Richey suffered fractures to his skull, jaw and the bone around his eye. He underwent surgery in which a portion of his fractured skull was removed and replaced with metal mesh, the affidavit said.

Richey told police he had never seen the person who assaulted him before, the affidavit said.

The golf club was seized at the scene on the day of the assault and sent to a crime lab, the affidavit said.

Also at the scene, Ledbetter's fingerprints were allegedly found on an olive jar, the affidavit said.

A search warrant for Ledbetter's DNA was later obtained and compared against trace DNA found on the golf club handle. On Sept. 5 of this year, a lab report from the Oregon State Police Crime Lab was received. The report showed Ledbetter's DNA allegedly matched the DNA found on the golf club handle, the affidavit said.

Ledbetter was arrested for the alleged assault Sept. 24, and lodged in jail in relation to that case, the affidavit said.

He was also jailed for allegedly failing to appear in court on past alcohol and drug charges, jail records show.

In 2015, Ledbetter was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants after a police officer responded to a report of two males passed out in a vehicle on a dead-end street in Medford in the middle of the night.

Ledbetter was asleep in the driver's seat with the vehicle still running and had to be shaken awake by the officer. He allegedly admitted to drinking earlier in the evening and then pulling over to sleep. Ledbetter allegedly failed field sobriety tests and was taken to jail, the affidavit said.

Court records show he entered a DUII diversion program and attended a victims' impact panel presentation, but later had his diversion revoked after failing to make court appearances.

In 2016, Ledbetter was charged with heroin possession, methamphetamine possession, criminal driving with a suspended or revoked license and supplying contraband for allegedly having controlled substances in jail. After he was released from jail on his own recognizance in August 2016, he failed to appear in court multiple times, triggering numerous warrants for his arrest, court records show.

Ledbetter has another case from 2016 in which he allegedly drove with a suspended or revoked license, and also failed to appear in court, records show.

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.

Jesse Ramon Ledbetter