Detroit slaying victim's father: 'Someone needs to be held accountable for this'

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Wayne Circuit judge Friday ordered a 45-year-old man who was named by police as a person of interest in his former girlfriend's homicide to remain in jail until a Monday bond hearing, but the woman's family said the decision came too late.

Police officials last week asked Wayne County prosecutors to file a motion requesting that Wayne Circuit Judge Gregory Bill revoke the bond of David Hammond, who was released on his own recognizance last year after being charged in connection with assaulting his then-girlfriend, Andrea Tucker, and firebombing her house in September 2019.

Andrea Tucker

Tucker, 40, was gunned down Wednesday in the driveway of her east side home after dropping off her two children at school. Police named Hammond as a person of interest in the case and asked for the public's help. Hammond was arrested Thursday.

In the Nov. 12 request to prosecutors seeking to have Hammond's bond revoked, Detroit police investigators said Tucker had doorbell video showing a man she believed to be Hammond stalking her, in violation of his bond conditions.

An assistant Wayne County prosecutor rejected the request from police because the man's face was obscured by a hood, prosecutors said.

On Thursday, after The Detroit News reported that the request to seek Hammond's bond revocation had been denied, prosecutors filed an emergency motion based on the same doorbell video which had been rejected earlier. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's office said in a press release that the assistant prosecutor made his decision without checking with supervisors.

During a hearing on the emergency motion Friday, Trish Gerard, head of the prosecutor's Domestic Violence Unit, said: "As soon as I saw (the doorbell video), I filed the emergency motion."

David Hammond

"If we ever had an emergency, it's this," Gerard said. "This is a matter of public safety."

Hammond's attorney, David Steingold, told the judge it was unnecessary to keep his client in jail because he had been out for months without any problems. But Bill ruled Hammond will remain in jail until Monday's scheduled 10:30 a.m. bond hearing.

Charles Tucker, the victim's father, said the decision to seek bond revocation came "way too late."

"My daughter is dead," he said. "Why did they wait until after she was killed to do this? This doesn't sound right at all. Someone needs to be held accountable for this."

Shortly before Tucker was killed Wednesday, Detroit investigators asked prosecutors a second time to have Hammond's bond revoked, but Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said there wasn't enough evidence in that request to warrant filing a motion.

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. 

Andrea Tucker

On Nov. 3, Hammond was bound over for trial on domestic violence, felonious assault, second-degree arson and first-degree home invasion charges. Tucker testified against him during the preliminary examination before 36th District Judge Kenneth King.

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, King said.

Despite previous convictions for armed robbery and felony drug possession, Hammond initially was granted the personal bond by 36th District Judge Millicent Sherman in October 2020. King continued the bond conditions 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.

Hammond also was ordered not to leave the state, but during Friday's hearing, Gerard said police tracked Hammond down in Toledo Thursday night.

"According to police, the defendant went to Toledo, Ohio, and registered in a hotel under his own name," Gerard said. "Officers located him there, and he was followed back, and arrested in St. Clair Shores."

Steingold told the judge his client likely came back to Michigan because he was scheduled to turn himself in to police at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 12.

Police may detain suspects for questioning, although they must release them if they're not charged with a crime within 72 hours.

Hammond pleaded guilty in 1993 to armed robbery in Washtenaw County, and was sentenced to three to 10 years, Gerard said. He also was found guilty in 2002 of felony drug possession in Oakland County, she said.

Bill said when he granted the prosecutor's request to keep Hammond in jail: "In light of the gravity of the charges against (Hammond), and his extensive criminal history, I deem the previous bond conditions inadequate, quite frankly."

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

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."

Tucker’s cousin India Davis echoed Charles Tucker's concern about why prosecutors waited until Thursday to ask the judge to revoke Hammond's bond.

"It doesn't make any sense to do it after she was killed," she said. “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," she said. "This is just terrible.”

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN