Murder suspect is unfit for trial


By JOHN BURNETT

Tribune-Herald staff writer

A man accused of the fatal bludgeoning of his landlord in a lower Puna subdivision has been found unfit to stand trial by a panel of three mental health professionals.

Psychiatrist Dr. Gene Altman and psychologists Barbara Higa Rogers and Duke Wagner all agreed that Jason Russell Jump is mentally unfit for trial. The contents of their reports are confidential.

“Proceedings will be suspended,” Hilo District Judge David Kuwahara ruled Tuesday afternoon. Kuwahara ordered that Jump be committed to the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe, Oahu, for treatment. He set a status hearing for May 14 via videoconference.

The 37-year-old Jump is charged with second-degree murder for the Dec. 16 slaying of 54-year-old James V. Johns Sr. on a property Johns owned on Seaview Road in Nanawale Estates. Jump, who appeared in custody, unable to make $250,000 bail, stood impassively during the proceedings. The dreadlocks that obscured much of his face in his initial court appearance in December had been shorn.

Police say Johns, who had been rendered a paraplegic after being punched by a neighbor about three years earlier, rented out shacks on his property and that Jump was one of his 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 “deceased with a hammer embedded in the left side of his head.”

An autopsy 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 Dec. 16. The neighbor told police that the argument took place near the tool shed and the neighbor “heard thumping sounds and Jump yelling.”

The neighbor said that Jump returned to his shack and later left the property on foot carrying a gray backpack, according to a document.

Jump was arrested without incident the following morning in front of the Pahoa Cash & Carry store.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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