Bail set at $5 million for Sequim man

Attempted murder alleged

PORT ANGELES — Bail has been set at $5 million for a Sequim man facing an attempted murder charge after he allegedly shot a pistol multiple times at his neighbor last Wednesday night.

James Donald Luoma, 66, appeared via video from jail in Clallam County Superior Court on Monday for his first court appearance. He is being held in the Clallam County jail for investigation of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.

He was booked after he was released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle; he had had his thumb shot off.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steven Johnson asked for no bail due to Luoma’s “propensity to commit violence.”

Johnson said Luoma ambushed his 49-year-old neighbor on April 27 at her Sequim home and fired several pistol rounds at her. He said if Luoma were released, his neighbor, who is deaf, would have a difficult time monitoring her home if Luoma came back.

Attorney Karen Unger represented Luoma on Monday, saying he has no criminal history and, if released, he would not go back to his residence.

Judge Brent Basden issued the $5 million bail amount on Monday until Luoma could secure a permanent attorney, and, if released, Luoma would be on home monitoring, no firearms allowed, and two no-contact orders with the 49-year-old woman and another neighbor.

On Tuesday, Basden maintained the bail amount and appointed Harry Gasnick as Luoma’s attorney after Unger withdrew.

Another court appearance for Luoma was set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Superior Court. Attorneys are expected to argue the state’s no-bail request.

According to Sequim police reports, officers were dispatched to the 700 block of West Heritage Loop inside the Hendrickson Heritage Park manufactured home development in the early afternoon of April 27 where a woman told officers Luoma had been coming to her home and touching her as he was jealous of her having a boyfriend.

Detective Maris Larsen said the woman sought a protection order against Luoma through Clallam County that day but wasn’t able to complete the application without knowing his birth date.

Later that day, officers were sent to the house again after several 9-1-1 calls at 5:52 p.m. They said they found the woman covered in blood saying “he tried to kill me” and “he’s trying to kill me,” according to court documents.

Luoma was found with a pistol, and his left thumb barely attached to the hand, court documents report.

He was transported to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles and later airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The next day, he was discharged and transported to the Clallam County jail.

Luoma told police he shot at the woman because he “had so much anger” and felt betrayed as he allegedly gave the neighbor more than $140,000, according to court documents.

In one statement to police, he said he went there “out of vengeance,” and after retrieving the gun after a struggle with the neighbor a second time, he said it was a “possibility, yes” he would shoot her, police report.

Court documents say the woman told police she had a friendship with Luoma but that he wanted a romantic relationship while she did not.

She said the incident stemmed from her telling Luoma she didn’t love him nor want to speak to him again, police reported.

After returning from the Clallam County Courthouse, and after her boyfriend left, the woman said she saw Luoma pick up a paving stone and go to the back of her house.

She went outside and he pointed the gun at her, she told police. She said she begged him not to do it, but he fired and missed, and she ran next door, court documents said.

Luoma told police he shot in an open space and not at the woman.

Larsen said the two began to fight in the garage of a neighbor who lives between them. She told police he began hitting her and that she threw the gun under a refrigerator.

During the struggle, Luoma’s thumb was shot, police report.

He got the gun again, but the woman grabbed it and fired all of its bullets but one, police said.

Luoma continued to hit her, she told police, including slamming her head into the concrete floor and fridge.

She got away, and that’s when police arrived, according to court documents.

One neighbor told police she spoke to Luoma 20 minutes prior to the incident and he told her he was depressed and suicidal, and that when the woman’s boyfriend left, he planned to confront her and ask for forgiveness.

The woman sustained bruising around her right eye, Larsen said.

How many shots were fired was not revealed in police reports.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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