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CROWN POINT — James Lohnes, who is accused of strangling two women last year at their home in Calumet Township, remains institutionalized while doctors determine if he will be able to stand trial for murder.

Lohnes, 46, of Crown Point, has been under observation for the past three or four weeks at Logansport State Hospital, his defense attorney said at a court hearing Thursday.

Lohnes was determined earlier this year by court-appointed doctors to be mentally incompetent, and therefore unable to stand trial for the killings of Velia Taneff, 86, and her daughter, Lana Taneff, 63.

The mother and daughter were found strangled to death Jan. 17, 2016, at their property in the 2300 block of West 44th Avenue in Calumet Township, according to police.

Lohnes, an occasional handyman for the women, was arrested by Ohio State Police after he was discovered driving drunk in Velia Taneff's blue 2003 Cadillac near Montpelier, Ohio, police said.

Judge Samuel L. Cappas ordered July 7 that the defendant be held at a mental institution until such time he is determined to be competent.

A new court hearing for Lohnes is scheduled for Feb. 6.


Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.