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Woman Killed 2 Days After Man Accused of Assaulting Her Released on Bond

May 22, 1985

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ A 28-year-old man has been charged with killing his ex-girlfriend two days after a judge released him on bond on a charge of assaulting her.

District Judge Patrick Bowler, who set the bond for Kenneth Duane Hill, said he felt ″absolutely terrible″ about the slaying Monday of Joyce Tucker, 26, ″particularly because I had addressed to both the defendant and the victim there was the potential for this.″

Hill, 28, was held Wednesday without bond in the Kent County Jail after being arraigned Tuesday on a murder charge in the shooting death of Ms. Tucker, whose body was found in her apartment.

Hill was arrested April 16 for allegedly assaulting Ms. Tucker with a knife or a long-handled razor. Bond originally was set at $3,000 or 10 percent paid to a bonding company to put up the rest of the money.

On April 26, Bowler held a hearing during which he was told by Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Varis Klavins that Ms. Tucker feared for her life if Hill was released.

The judge ordered that Hill stay away from Ms. Tucker or risk being jailed again. Bowler also changed Hill’s bond arrangement, to allow the Grand Rapids resident to pay the $300 himself, without the balance being paid by a bonding company.

Hill posted the bond Saturday.

Hill’s lawyer, Paul Mitchell, had no comment on the killing.

″If that bond had not been changed, I’m realistic enough to think there’s a good chance he (Hill) would still be locked up today,″ Klavins said.

″I know that she (Ms. Tucker) was concerned if he did get out and that’s what I tried to convey to the judge. She definitely indicated she was scared ... scared for her life.″

Bowler said he took the alleged threat to the woman’s life into consideration when he changed Hill’s bond, and weighed it against Hill’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

″In hindsight, you can do all sorts of things here,″ the judge said. ″Hundreds of bonds are set every week. You attempt to predict whether or not they will show up for court, which is the only purpose for bonds, but you can’t really predict future conduct of the person when they come out.″

Relatives of the woman, who asked not to be identified, said she and Hill broke up about a month ago. They said the couple, who had known each other for about six years, had a 5-year-old son.

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