Boyfriend Indicted In Balcony Fall Death

Posted May 13, 2009

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- It was New Years Eve when a woman fell 16 stories to her death from an Orange County hotel and Wednesday, the Grand Jury says it was no accident.

The woman's boyfriend, Jonathan Speegle was arrested late Tuesday night after being indicted for second-degree murder.

The victim, Nichole Hammond fell to her death five months ago. Speegle maintains his innocence. His attorney said he's grieving and was in love with Nichole, but a grand jury saw evidence that it believes proves otherwise.

A lawn chair was used somehow to convince the Grand Jury there was enough evidence to charge Jonathan Justin Speegle with murder. Defense attorneys maintain the evidence is circumstantial.

"Just because people heard them arguing, it's no greater likely that she was pushed, than fell, or sat on railing toppled over drinking," said Speegle's attorney Mark NeJame.

Sources say there was a fingerprint found that is not consistent to her hoisting herself over the balcony.

Nichole Hammond fell over a 16th floor balcony of the World Center Marriott, plummeting to her death. It was initially considered accidental.

Then in February, deputies arrested Speegle under suspicion of murder. His attorney, Mark NeJame said the indictment was a surprise.

"When in heavens does anyone present a second-degree murder case to a grand jury? The law states a state attorney can sign off on that," he said.

NeJame said he not know his client's case was going before the Grand Jury or that Speegle was going to be arrested.

Deputies took him into custody late Tuesday night. NeJame says Speegle had the right to have his attorney present.

"What were they concerned about, afraid of? We'll find out later," he said.

Speegle is being held without bond. He had already been granted bond with a GPS ankle bracelet.