By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A man accused of a homicide in a lower Puna subdivision has pleaded not guilty and will undergo a mental evaluation.
Hilo District Judge Barbara Takase on Wednesday ordered an evaluation by three mental health professionals for 36-year-old Jason Russell Jump. The mental examination was requested for Jump by his court-appointed attorney, Kanani Laubach.
A hearing on the findings is scheduled for Jan. 22 at 1:30 p.m.
Jump is charged with second-degree murder in the Sunday slaying of 54-year-old James V. Johns on a property Johns owned on Seaview Road in Nanawale Estates. He’s in custody in Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $250,000 bail.
Police say Johns rented out shacks on his property and Jump was one of Johns’ tenants. According to court documents filed by police, another tenant discovered Johns’ body in a tool shed on the property shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday. One document stated that Johns “was observed to have an axe or hammer type tool embedded into his head.”
An autopsy performed on Tuesday found that Johns died of blunt force trauma to his brain, police said.
Documents state that another neighbor overheard Johns and Jump arguing at about 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The neighbor told police that the argument took place near the tool shed and the neighbor “heard thumping sounds and Jump yelling.” Jump returned to his shack and left the property on foot, carrying a gray backpack, according to a document.
On Monday morning, police issued a bulletin advising citizens to look out for Jump. Jump was arrested without incident at 10:35 a.m. Monday in front of the Pahoa Cash & Carry store and charged with Johns’ murder on Tuesday.
Court documents indicate that Jump has no felony convictions but did mention an active warrant for his arrest in California.
Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier confirmed the warrant but wasn’t able to specify the charge.
“It appears to be a crime of violence,” Skier said. He said he didn’t yet know if California authorities planned to extradite Jump to answer to charges there.
“Sometimes, authorities on the mainland balk at extraditing individuals from Hawaii because of the expense,” he said.