Charge Dropped Against Man in Hotel Death

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Posted on Friday, 11.06.09

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Prosecutors have dropped a murder charge against a central Florida man they had accused of pushing his girlfriend off a hotel balcony to her death.

The second-degree murder charge against 27-year-old Jonathan Justin Speegle was dropped Thursday. Authorities had claimed he caused the death of 30-year-old Nichole Hammond, who fell 16 stories from the balcony of their room at Marriott World Center near Walt Disney World, shortly after midnight Dec. 31.

Assistant State Attorney Ken Lewis says prosecutors don't have the forensic evidence to re-create the scene or refute the defense's theory of what happened.

Defense attorney Mark NeJame says Speegle was arrested on questionable information, and he always expected an acquittal.