Delay for trial possible in Sequim attempted murder case

More discovery being gathered by police, State Patrol

PORT ANGELES — An attorney has argued for a delay in a seven-day trial for James Donald Luoma, a 66-year-old Sequim man accused of attempting to kill his deaf 49-year-old neighbor.

After Luoma pleaded not guilty on May 13 to attempted first-degree murder and first-degree burglary in Clallam County Superior Court, a trial was set for June 27.

But on Friday, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steve Johnson told judge Brent Basden that he didn’t think that trial date would be realistic.

“There’s still a substantial amount of discovery still coming in for this case,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Sequim police detectives have nine outstanding search warrants they’re working through and State Patrol’s analysis of the crime scene remains ongoing.

“With all of that coming in, it’s not remotely realistic,” Johnson said of the court date.

Luoma’s defense attorney, John Hayden, said he’d just received the most recent discovery items earlier in the week and hadn’t had a chance to review them.

Basden said that, with Luoma held without bail, his case has a high preference for proceeding and that the dates are important. He set a status hearing for 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 17.

Sequim police arrested Luoma April 27 in a manufactured home park off Hendrickson Road on Sequim after he was found with a gun and his neighbor said he tried to kill her, court documents say.

Earlier in the day, the neighbor unsuccessfully sought a protection order against Luoma; she lacked his birth date, which was required for the document, police said.

Luoma wanted a romantic relationship with her, she told police, and she didn’t reciprocate.

That afternoon, the neighbor saw Luoma pick up a paving stone and go behind her house, according to court documents, and when she went outside, he aimed a gun at her, fired and missed, leading her to run to her neighbor’s house, she said.

Inside her neighbor’s garage, the woman fought with Luoma. His thumb was shot off in the struggle. He continued to hit her head into the floor and a fridge, police said.

In a later interview, Luoma told people he felt “so much anger” towards her neighbor because he felt betrayed. He said he had given her more than $140,000.

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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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