Attempted murder trial pushed to November

Sequim man allegedly shot at neighbor in 2022

PORT ANGELES — A Sequim man charged with attempting to kill his neighbor in a manufactured home park more than two years ago will have a two-week trial starting in November.

A March 25 trial start date for James Luoma, 68, recently was continued by Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brent Basden.

The trial is now scheduled to begin Nov. 12.

Luoma, who faces charges of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree burglary, agreed to the court date at his May 10 court appearance. A pre-trial hearing is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 17.

Sequim police arrested Luoma on April 27, 2022, on the 700 block of West Heritage Loop after he allegedly shot at and attacked his then-49-year-old neighbor.

Police reported that Luoma sought a romantic relationship with the woman and she didn’t reciprocate.

The woman sought a protection order but was unable to obtain one as she didn’t know Luoma’s birthdate, police reported.

The same day, Luoma allegedly walked to his neighbor’s home, fired a gun at her and missed, according to court documents.

The woman then ran to her neighbor’s garage, where Luoma confronted her again and hit her head into a fridge and the floor, police reported.

Luoma’s thumb was shot off during the struggle, according to court documents.

Defense attorney Karen Unger sought a follow-up medical examination in March after Dr. Claire Ashbaugh of Alpine Haven Psychology Services conducted a forensic evaluation in January and saw “there were concerns for cognitive decline” in Luoma.

Ashbaugh recommended a repeat evaluation of his neuropsychological evaluation from November 2022 to see if there was a neurodegenerative condition affecting the frontal lobes, according to court documents.

Unger said on May 10 that there was a delay waiting for the second evaluation and after it was conducted that “they just need to set a trial” date.

Basden asked if Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Steven Johnson needed to get experts of his own on Luoma’s mental capacity, but Unger said she does not anticipate using any expert testimony during the trial.

She did not elaborate on the results of the follow-up evaluation and results were not made public.

In March, Basden asked why Ashbaugh asked for more information on Luoma as he’s been in jail for almost two years, and that “most people experience diminished capacity over time.”

Unger said she wanted to know if Luoma is experiencing a decline in mental state due to his relationship with his neighbor and if he can’t regulate his control, and whether or not a mental health condition would support a finding of diminished capacity or insanity during the incidents.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of newspapers Peninsula News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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