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Man Who Attack Indian American Motel Owner Sentenced 20 Years to Psychiatric Hospital
LA PINE, OG – A La Pine, Oregon, man was sent to the state mental hospital for 20 years for brutally beating a 70-year-old Indian American woman in a racist attack late last year.
James David Lamb, Jr. was one of the first people in Oregon charged under a new hate crime law for seriously injuring the co-owner of the Hub Motel, Meena Puri.
Puri is an Indian immigrant who has lived with her family in Central Oregon for most of her life.
Early on Dec. 31, 2019, Lamb broke into the office of the Hub Motel, where he was staying, after Puri told him he couldn’t use the office phone. Lamb’s wife had driven him to the motel the night before because he was acting abusive toward her, according to Redmond Police, the report said.
Lamb broke down the office door, grabbed Puri by the hair, shook her head and struck her and kicked her with his work boots after she fell on the ground.
Lamb reportedly told police investigators he wanted to “rid America of people like her.”
Puri suffered fractures to her neck, cheekbone and shoulder and was hospitalized for several weeks.
A motel manager told a search of Lamb’s trashed hotel room revealed evidence of methamphetamine use.
The 54-year-old Lamb appeared recently in Deschutes County Circuit Court to answer to charges of bias crime, first-degree burglary and second-degree assault. A charge of attempted murder was dropped as part of his plea deal.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said his office insisted the hate crime charge remain.
Lamb was evaluated by psychological experts for the state and defense. Both agreed he met the legal criteria for a defense of guilty except for insanity, the report said.
Lamb was sentenced at the same hearing before Judge Walter Miller, who ordered Lamb be placed under the custody of the state Psychiatric Review Board and immediately transferred to the Oregon State Hospital, it said