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Mental review ordered for man in northwest Indiana slayings

May 17, 2019

A man accused of fatally strangling an elderly woman and her daughter in northwestern Indiana has been ordered to get another mental health evaluation.

The Times of Northwest Indiana reported Lake County Judge Samuel Cappas ordered the evaluation Thursday for 47-year-old James Lohnes of Crown Point. The judge scheduled an Oct. 17 pretrial hearing and a Nov. 12 trial.

Lohnes earlier was deemed competent to stand trial, but defense attorneys Nicholas Barnes and Mark Chargualaf say he hasn’t been able to assist with his defense since his return to the Lake County Jail from a state mental health institution.

Lohnes faces murder charges in the January 2016 slayings of 86-year-old Velia Taneff and her 63-year-old daughter, Lana Taneff. Authorities say Lohnes had worked occasionally for the Calumet Township women as a handyman.

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