Detroit man charged with attacking girlfriend who later was slain is in custody

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 45-year-old man who was named as a person of interest in the shooting death of his girlfriend Wednesday is in police custody, as prosecutors seek an emergency revocation of his bond in a related domestic violence and arson case.

David Hammond

Thursday's decision to ask a judge to rescind David Hammond's bond comes after assistant Wayne County prosecutors denied two earlier requests by Detroit police — one which was made Wednesday morning, shortly before Hammond's 40-year-old girlfriend Andrea Tucker was gunned down in the driveway of her eastside home.

An assistant prosecutor decided there wasn't enough evidence on Nov. 12 to file the motion without consulting a supervisor, Wayne County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Maria Miller said.

"... as a result, no bond motion was filed," Miller said in a press release.

Miller said her office filed the emergency bond motion Thursday based on the same evidence that was rejected Nov. 12: Doorbell video footage that showed a man in Tucker's yard, his face obscured by a hood. Tucker claimed it was Hammond.

In the second request by police Wednesday, Miller said there wasn't enough evidence to warrant filing a bond motion.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday before Wayne Circuit Judge Gregory Bill.

"We believe the system failed this devoted mother," Detroit Police 2nd Deputy Chief Rudy Harper said in a statement. "Our investigators took the necessary steps in this case. We look forward to bringing her family swift justice."

Although police named Hammond as a person of interest in Tucker's homicide, his attorney said his client appeared via Zoom for a court hearing during the time police say the killing took place. 

Hammond was released on his own recognizance Nov. 3, the same day he was bound over for trial on charges that he assaulted Tucker and firebombed her house in September 2019. Tucker is charged with domestic violence, felonious assault, second-degree arson and first-degree home invasion.

Hammond's case had sat dormant for months, partially because of COVID-related backups, and because his attorney asked for more time to go through discovery. 36th District Judge Kenneth King said.

Hammond originally was granted the personal bond by 36th District Judge Millicent Sherman in October 2020, and King continued the bond at Hammond's preliminary examination two weeks ago.

"He had been out for a year, and there were no violations," King said. "As judges, we rely on prosecutors to tell us if there are any potential problems, but nobody objected to the continuation of the bond conditions, and since there hadn't been any violations, I had no reason not to continue them."

Part of the bond conditions set by King was that Hammond avoid contacting Tucker, who testified during the preliminary examination.

After Tucker told police that Hammond was stalking her, investigators on Nov. 12 asked prosecutors to try to get the bond revoked, Miller said.

The Detroit officer in charge of the case told the assistant prosecutor that Tucker had "several Ring videos of a man in her yard," Miller said in the release. "The (officer) said that the person in the videos could not be identified because his face was hidden by a hood, but that Ms. Tucker believed it was Defendant Hammond. The (officer) did not say it was an emergency.

"The (assistant prosecutor) said that he would look at the video, but the identification issue would make a bond motion difficult," Miller said. "The (assistant prosecutor) did not advise a supervisor or the arraignment prosecutor about the videos. As a result, no bond motion was filed."

Tucker was killed in her driveway about 9 a.m. Wednesday, shortly after dropping off her two children at school, Detroit police officials said during a press conference in which they named Hammond as a person of interest in the case.

A citizen tip led to Hammond's arrest Thursday, Harper said.

Hammond's attorney David Steingold said he'd arranged for his client to turn himself in Friday — "so this arrest was a little surprising," he said.

Steingold insists if Tucker's killing happened at 9 a.m. as police reported, his client has an alibi.

"He was on Zoom when the police said the woman was killed," Steingold said. "The hearing started at 9, and I talked to him for about 15 minutes before that. The hearing ended at about 9:35."

Steingold said Tucker appeared to be inside a house during his Zoom appearance, and that his client claimed to be at home in Clinton Township.

King and Bill have not returned phone calls seeking comment.

Tucker’s cousin India Davis said Thursday’s decision by prosecutors to file the bond motion “is too late. A whole life is gone. Someone needs to be held accountable for this.

“I’m glad her two kids weren’t there to see their mom get killed, but their dad came to pick them up from school, and that’s their last memory of their mom; they thought it was going to be a fun day because they were getting out of school, and then they got that terrible news.”

Davis said Tucker was an esthetician who specialized in makeup and facial waxes. “She was an outgoing person. This is just terrible.”

King said the case highlights difficulties in the criminal justice system caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Pre-COVID-19, magistrates or judges probably wouldn’t have set a bond like that," King said. "But understanding the backlog of cases, it would be a long time for someone to sit in jail, and they have a constitutional right to a speedy trial.

"My heart sank when I heart about this case," he said. "Not because I have an affiliation with it, but because it happened."

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN