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News / Clark County News

Hockinson man facing murder charges in alleged murder-for-hire plot of his wife held without bail until Monday

James Rummell's defense attorney filed a motion to disqualify Judge David Gregerson

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: March 29, 2024, 2:31pm

Prosecutors intend to charge a Hockinson man with aggravated first-degree murder, court records show, for allegations that he hired a friend to kill his wife.

If convicted of the charge, James Rummell, 49, would face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He appeared Friday in Clark County Superior Court on an initial allegation of first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Lindy Rummell, 60.

His defense attorney filed a motion to disqualify Judge David Gregerson, who was presiding over the docket, from hearing the case. Gregerson indicated that he found probable cause for the first-degree murder allegation, and he ordered James Rummell held over the weekend without bail until another judge can hear his case Monday.

Earlier this week, police in Eugene, Ore., arrested James Rummell’s friend 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 the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

James Rummell was also arrested earlier in the week and appeared in Clark County District Court on suspicion of making false statements to a public servant. Authorities had said at the time that additional charges were possible.

Investigators say they have since learned that James Rummell had propositioned another friend about killing his wife, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the Superior Court case.

James Rummell has denied involvement in his wife’s death, court records state.

Deputies responded at 6:54 p.m. March 23 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 his wife, the sheriff’s office said.

Lindy Rummell was dead inside the house with apparent gunshot wounds, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators said there were no signs that anyone had forced their way inside the house; a truck was reported stolen from the house.

A Eugene man told deputies he had picked up his friend, Riley, from a city northeast of Eugene. He said Riley transferred a bunch of items, including two guns, into his vehicle from a truck Riley had been driving. 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 had shot the woman and the caliber of ammunition he used, which appeared to be the same caliber recovered at the Hockinson house. Riley also allegedly told him he had 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 said Riley told him he had agreed to kill the woman for $35,000 and a new motorcycle. When deputies searched the tipster’s car, they found motorcycle keys in a bag with Riley’s name on it. The keys were to the same make as a motorcycle James Rummell owns, court records state.

Deputies also learned of another friend of James Rummell who said he had approached him about killing Lindy Rummell. James Rummell allegedly told the friend he’d been fighting with his wife a lot and that she had a $100,000 life insurance policy. The friend said he thought James Rummell was joking about killing his wife, but he said James Rummell then said, “OK, well, we didn’t have this conversation,” according to the affidavit.