Suspect in Hotel Death Released on Bond

Posted February 6, 2009

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- The man accused of pushing his girlfriend over the balcony of an Orange County hotel on New Year's Eve was back in court Friday morning. After posting bond, Jonathan Speegle was released from jail Friday afternoon.

Speegle was with his girlfriend, Nicole Hammond, when she fell from the 16th floor to her death from the Orlando World Center Marriott. Earlier this week, a judge denied Speegle's attorney Mark NeJame's request for a lower bond and electronic monitoring.

Friday, however, the judge agreed to release Speegle on $50,000 bond. He will be required to wear a GPS monitoring system and is limited to seven counties: Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Brevard, Polk, Lake and Volusia. Speegle was also told he could not have contact with the victim's family.

"As I stated in court, it's a very strong position that he did not do anything, he did not cause, in any way, shape, or form, her death," NeJame said.

Several family members attended the bond hearing to show their support. The bond motion included a letter from a former girlfriend, saying she never knew him to be violent in any way.

"The answer is that he gave a four and a half hour statement to law enforcement in the case. The state acknowledges it's a circumstantial case," he said.

Eyewitness News also learned more Friday about the circumstances at the World Center Marriott. Nicole Hammond was 5-foot-1 and her balcony was 43 inches tall or roughly a yard and fingerprints were found on around the railing. Witnesses also heard the couple arguing prior to Nicole's fall.

"To suggest that somebody, because a couple is arguing, to come from that, with someone with no history, to throwing someone over a balcony, that's a pretty big reach,"NeJame said.

Speegle hasn't been charged yet. The state is awaiting forensic tests that likely include a toxicology report on Hammond.