Husband allegedly ordered wife’s murder-for-hire, planned to pay with her life insurance money


James Rummell appears in court

James Rummell appears in a Clark County court on March 25, 2024 (Screengrab via KATU/YouTube)

A wife is dead while her husband and a family friend are in jail as allegations of a murder-for-hire plot swirl in Washington state.

On March 23, Lindy Rummell, 60, was found shot to death inside her own home in Hockinson, a census-designated place a few miles north of Vancouver, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

A “tip” provided to law enforcement led to the quick naming of a suspect, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies then issued a felony warrant on a charge of murder in the first degree for Darrell Riley, 55.

On March 24, Riley was arrested by the Eugene Police Department in Oregon — roughly two-and-a-half hours due south of where Rummell was found dead. He is currently being jailed across the border while the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office seeks his extradition.

On Monday, the victim’s husband, James Rummell, 49, appeared in court on a charge of making false statements to a public servant. His bond was set at $25,000 and Clark County Jail records do not show him detained there. He is slated for another court appearance on March 29, according to Portland-based ABC affiliate KATU.

Authorities say more charges are likely.

On the day of the slaying, James Rummell arrived home just before 7 p.m. with two friends to find his wife dead from multiple gunshot wounds and their home on Northeast 119th Street ransacked, the apparent result of a burglary gone violently awry, according to the initial press release issued by the sheriff’s office.

Law enforcement seemingly had little to go on but the noted absence of a black 2001 Ford F-150 SuperCab or extended cab with a lift — along with an old picture of the actual truck driving through wet streets.

“The stolen Ford F-150 from this incident was recovered in a rural part of Benton County, Oregon,” the sheriff’s office said in a second press release. “The vehicle was damaged by fire, which appears likely to have been intentionally set to destroy evidence of the murder.”

According to law enforcement, Riley was the one who drove off in the truck and later set it ablaze. But investigators almost immediately came back to the slain woman’s own husband.

“The investigation revealed that the victim’s husband, James Rummell, was friends with Darrell Riley,” the sheriff’s office said. “It appeared that James had driven to Eugene, picked Darrell up, and brought him back to Clark County earlier in the day before the murder.”

The investigation continued and deputies then went back to the residence where Lindy Rummell was killed, executing a second search warrant there and speaking with her husband again.

“He had given two statements,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Sgt. Chris Skidmore told KATU. “So, his first statement was something very different than when we went back and served the second search warrant on the house.”

James Rummell was taken into custody and processed after that second, allegedly inconsistent, statement to deputies.

According to court records in the case obtained by The Columbian, the husband first told investigators he was just driving around for hours before going to a friend’s house on the day his wife was killed. Later, asked to clarify, James Rummell allegedly admitted to picking Riley up in Eugene — but insisted he dropped his friend off and assumed Riley would take public transportation back home.

The two men were previously incarcerated together, authorities say.

Meanwhile, the tipster told authorities Riley spoke voluminously about the alleged plot, sharing details about a $35,000 offer to kill Lindy Rummell. That money would come from the deceased woman’s life insurance payouts to her husband, the witness allegedly said. Riley also allegedly told his friend how the deed went down: how many times he shot her, the profile of the ammunition he used, and how he tried to stage the crime scene to look like theft was the motive.

Spent shell casings found near the dead woman’s body aligned with what Riley allegedly admitted to his friend, authorities say. And, the accused gunman transferred several stolen items from the Rummell house into the stolen truck — and then into his friend’s vehicle.

Investigators say the accused husband admitted to being in dire financial straits. He recently received unemployment payments and records showed the couple had various loan payments due.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *