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Man accused of pushing girlfriend off balcony released from jail this afternoon

Judge re-instated Jonathan Speegle's $50,000 bond

A St. Cloud man accused of being involved in his girlfriend's fatal fall off a 16th-floor balcony was released from the Orange County Jail this afternoon.

This morning, Orange Circuit Court Judge Tim Shea re-instated Jonathan Speegle's $50,000 bond -- a bond Speegle posted after his initial arrest and release in January.

On Tuesday, an Orange County grand jury indicted Speegle, 28, on second-degree murder in the death of Nichole Hammond, 30, of St. Cloud, who fell Dec. 31 from the balcony of their room at the Marriott World Center on World Center Drive near Walt Disney World.

Authorities re-arrested Speegle and held him without bond, which was ordered by Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry.

Speegle's attorney, Mark NeJame, argued that Speegle should not have been picked up again because Shea had already set a bond for the same charge in January.

Prosecutor Ken Lewis said investigators now have more information than they did in January. A forensic engineer studied what happened that night and concluded there was no way the victim could have gone over the balcony without help, Lewis said.

But Shea agreed with NeJame. He said since he already had set a bond on the case, Speegle should not have been picked up and held again without bond.

Afterward, Lewis said prosecutors may consider filing a request to revoke Speegle's bond.

Lewis told the judge that the state is ready for trial, which may occur in late June.

The next hearing is set for June 2.

Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel

Source: Orlando Sentinel

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