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News / Clark County News

Husband’s friend arrested in Oregon, facing murder charge in Hockinson woman’s fatal shooting

60-year-old Lindy Rummell's husband is also a suspect in her slaying

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: March 25, 2024, 3:10pm

Authorities arrested a man they say fatally shot a woman Saturday in her Hockinson home, as well as the woman’s husband, who’s being investigated for an alleged murder-for-hire plot.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies identified the woman Monday as 60-year-old Lindy Rummell.

Police in Eugene, Ore., arrested Darrell E. Riley, 55, on a Clark County warrant for first-degree murder. He will remain in custody in Oregon until he can be extradited to Clark County, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Investigators determined Riley was friends with Lindy Rummell’s husband, James Rummell, 49. They said it appeared James Rummell had picked up Riley from Eugene earlier in the day and brought him to Hockinson, the news release states.

The sheriff’s office said James Rummell may have hired Riley to make the slaying look like a robbery gone wrong. A pickup was reported stolen from the residence.

Deputies arrested James Rummell on suspicion of making false statements to a public servant. He appeared on the allegation Monday in Clark County District Court. Judge Chad Sleight set James Rummell’s bail at $25,000, and he is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

The sheriff’s office said it’s investigating James Rummell as a suspect in his wife’s killing, and additional charges against him are possible.

James Rummell has denied involvement in his wife’s death and knowing Riley allegedly planned to kill her, court records show.

Deputies responded at 6:54 p.m. to a report of a woman shot inside a house in the 18000 block of Northeast 119th Street. James Rummell and two friends arriving at the house found her, the sheriff’s office said.

Arriving deputies said Lindy Rummell was dead inside the house with apparent gunshot wounds. They found several spent shell casings near her body, court records state.

Investigators said there were no signs anyone had forced their way inside the house. Drawers and cabinets were open, and deputies found a pillowcase in the hall with items, including a collectable model car, inside, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The next day, deputies received a tip from a Eugene man who said he picked up his friend, Riley, from a city northeast of Eugene. He said Riley transferred a bunch of items, including two guns, from a pickup Riley was driving into his vehicle. Riley then set the truck on fire, according to court records.

The tipster said Riley told him he’d been hired to kill a woman. Riley allegedly described the number of times he shot the woman and caliber of ammunition he used, which appeared to be the same caliber recovered at the Hockinson house. Riley also allegedly told him he staged it to look like a robbery, and the items he put in the tipster’s vehicle were taken from the house, the affidavit states.

The tipster also said he learned James Rummell had approached Riley about 10 months ago about a plan to kill Lindy Rummell. James Rummell was going to pay Riley $35,000 from Lindy Rummell’s life insurance payout, according to the affidavit.

When deputies returned to the house to search it again, James Rummell told them he drove around for hours Saturday before going to his neighbor’s house, court records state.

Investigators found paperwork that indicated the Rummells had several payments due for various loans. They also found James Rummell had received unemployment payments. James Rummell told investigators the couple were in a difficult financial position, according to the affidavit.

James Rummell said he met Riley in prison while serving a sentence in connection with a kidnapping and robbery incident. He told deputies he’d last seen Riley over the summer, court records state.

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When investigators confronted James Rummell about his story, they said he admitted he drove to Eugene on Saturday to see Riley. He said they decided to go for a drive, and he brought Riley to Clark County. James Rummell said he eventually told Riley he had plans and dropped Riley off in the Hockinson area. He told deputies he thought Riley would take public transportation back to Eugene, the affidavit states.

“(James Rummell’s) failure to provide accurate and timely information regarding contact with (Riley) on (Saturday) hindered an active homicide investigation and delayed law enforcement’s response in identifying and locating (Riley),” the affidavit states.