Washington Man Accused of Hiring Friend from Jail to Kill Wife, Stage Murder as Robbery

James Rummell and Lindy Rummell
James Rummell (left) and with his wife Lindy Rummell Facebook

A man arrested over the fatal shooting of a Washington woman over the weekend may have been hired by the victim's husband to kill her and stage the crime scene to look like a robbery gone awry.

James Rummell, 49, has also been taken into custody as police investigate the death of his wife, 60-year-old Lindy Rummell. The alleged hitman, Darrell E. Riley, 55, was arrested in Oregon on a first degree murder warrant from Clark County, Washington. He remains in Oregon pending extradition.

Lindy's Killing Staged as 'Interrupted Burglary'

On Saturday, March 23, deputies arrived at the Rummell residence and found Lindy dead with apparent gunshot wounds. They also 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 Clark County Sheriff's Office said that James and Riley were friends, and that James drove to Eugene, Oregon, where he picked Riley up and brought him back to Clark County a day before the murder. James was charged with making false statements to a public servant, the sheriff's office said, and is considered a suspect in his wife's murder.

"It appears James may have solicited Darrell to stage what appeared to be an interrupted burglary to commit the murder of Lindy Rummell," the sheriff's office said in a statement.James is being held on a $25,000 bond and is expected to be arraigned Friday.

Riley was Arrested After Bragging About Lindy's Alleged Murder to Tipster

As reported by The Columbian, Police arrested Riley after receiving a tip from a man who said he had picked up the gunman from a city northeast of Eugene. He called police and told them that Riley took two guns and other items from a pickup truck he was driving then set the truck on fire.

He also told the tipster that he'd been hired to kill a woman and described the number of times he shot her and the caliber of the weapon he used — which matched a weapon found at the Rummell residence. Riley also told the tipster he staged the murder to look like a robbery, and the items he took out of the truck were things he stole from the house.

James Allegedly Promised $35K from Lindy's Life Insurance Payout

Acccording to the affidavit, Riley told the tipster that James first approached him about 10 months earlier with a plan to kill his wife, promising him $35,000 from Lindy's life insurance.

James told investigators he met Riley while serving a prison sentence for kidnapping and robbery and that he had no idea he planned to kill his wife. He initially said he hadn't seen Riley since last summer, but changed his story when police produced evidence he had been to Eugene the day before the murder.

He said he did bring Riley back to Clark County but dropped him off and thought he was taking public transportation back home.

"(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.