REDMOND, Ore. – A Eugene man is accused of attacking a 70-year-old motel owner, and a Deschutes County grand jury has called for attempted murder and hate crime charges.
The attack happened at the Hub Motel in Redmond on New Year’s Eve.
The Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office said James Lamb, 53, of Eugene was staying at the motel and broke into the manager’s office and attacked the motel’s owner. She suffered broken bones and remains in the hospital. She is expected to survive.
In total, Lamb has been charged with one count of second-degree attempted murder, two counts of first-degree bias crime, one count of second-degree assault, once count of second-degree burglary, and one count each of strangulation, menacing and second-degree criminal mischief.
The bias crimes are based on Lamb’s statements about the victim’s country of origin, India, and “his expressed desire to rid America of people like her,” the DA’s office said in a news release.
“The victim of this unprovoked assault provided heroic testimony to the grand jury from her hospital bed,” District Attorney John Hummel said. “Too many people in Oregon are silenced by intimidation and violence because of how they look, who they love, or to whom they pray. Because of this woman’s strength, and because the Oregon Legislature passed a law last year to strengthen Oregon’s hate crime law, justice will be delivered in this case. Hate is not tolerated in Deschutes County.”
The bias charges are possible because of Oregon’s revised “hate crime” law passed last year in the Oregon Legislature that allows felony charges to be leveled if a defendant acts alone in a hate crime. Previously, two or more people needed to be involved in a hate crime to allow for felony charges.
Lamb’s next court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 10.