ONTARIO, Ore.-- An Oregon couple is accused of shooting their grandchild's father. 61-year-old Lester Reger and his 50 year-old wife, Erlene Reger, were in court Thursday to face attempted murder and assault charges.
Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris says the couple has a history of contentious custody battles with 19-year-old Ramon Fry who is the father of their grandchild and the shooting victim.
Police say that on Wednesday the couple attempted to kill Fry.
"He was shot in the garage of this home," said Norris.
In court, Norris brought up Lester's criminal past. In 1984 he was charged with murdering his then-wife Simone Reger and dumping her body in a river. Lester later pleaded down to manslaughter.
Norris then described how investigators believe Wednesday's shooting happened.
"In terms of the crime scene, there was significant premeditation, including an execution-style shot to the back of the victim's head,” said Norris. “Evidence has disappeared from the scene. He had about an hour after the shooting to tamper with physical evidence.”
After he was shot, police believe Fry made his way down the hill behind the Reger's home to the Yturri Beltline. It was there someone spotted him and flagged down an Oregon state trooper. The trooper took Fry to St. Alphonsus in Ontario.
After getting to the hospital Fry pointed officers to the Reger's home.
On Thursday afternoon investigators searched the hillside behind the Reger’s home.
"They're looking for evidence from yesterday's shooting," said Norris. "We have some belief that something was thrown by one of the suspects over the hill. We don't know what."
Because of Lester Reger's criminal history, the judge set his bond at $500,000. His wife Erlene has been released on $50,000 bail.
Lester Reger will be back in court on March 9. Erlene Reger is scheduled to be back in court a few days after that.
Fry is now at St. Alphonsus in Boise in stable condition and is expected to live. Hospital officials are not releasing any other information due to patient confidentiality.
Lester's Previous Murder Charge
As for Lester Reger’s criminal history. His previous wife, Simone Reger, was found dead in the Snake River back in 1984.
The Register-Guard reported that her body was found wrapped in a blanket, with her feet tied together. The newspaper says Simone was five months pregnant when she died.
The district attorney at the time said Simone died from blows to her head and chest.
At first, Lester Reger was charged with murder for Simone's death, but the Register-Guard said authorities reduced that to manslaughter, because they didn't have enough evidence to show a motive.