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Bond or no bond? That is the question
Accused killer granted bond on one charge, no bond on two others; currently serving 7 years on probation violation
0610CR James Gary Hill1.JPG

COVINGTON, Ga. - James Gary Hill III, the man accused of strangling 27-year-old Kelly Marshall to death in August of last year, was arraigned in Newton County Court Thursday morning in front of Alcovy Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. 

Hill was arraigned on his charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault by District Attorney Layla Zon.

Circuit Public Defender Anthony Carter, who was appointed to represent Hill in the case, filed a motion for bond in the case on the malice murder charge. 

"The defendant is in custody currently on a probation violation that was revoked for seven years by Judge (John) Ott on one of his pending cases so he is in prison right now serving the revocation," Zon said. 

Jame Hill
James Gary Hill

Carter said because Hill was not indicted in the allotted 90-day window, so it was his right to be granted bond on his charges. 

"That's correct, Judge," Zon said. "He was not indited in 90 days, he was indicted in June at the last grand jury for three counts, however, as the court is aware if he's not indicted within 90 days on any count he is entitled to a bond on that count, so he would be entitled, by law, to a bond on Count 1: malice murder, but he's not entitled to a bond on felony murder or aggravated assault because these bench warrants were issued for those charges when he was arrested, so those were not charges for which he has sat 90 days under the law."

Carter agreed but insisted a bond be set for the malice murder charge. 

"However, the law is if you're sitting in jail for 90 days and you're not indicted, you're entitled to a bond," he said. "It violates the spirit of the law whenever you do a special presentment instead of just a regular grand jury indictment."

Johnson agreed with the spirit of the law but questioned the timing of the motion. 

"What's even more over-arching to me, is am I correct in hearing that Mr. Hill is incarcerated on a probation revocation on a seven-year revocation? So, even if I set it for a dollar, he's not getting out today," Johnson said. "Why are going to entertain any discussion at this point given the fact that he's in prison for seven years. If he's released on parole and you want to revisit this discussion, I think it would be more realistic and pragmatic at that time."

Carter said Hill is insistent on exercising his right to a bond on the malice murder charge.

Zon presented the state's recommendation for a bond at $500,000 on the malice murder charge and no bond on the felony murder and aggravated assault charges. 

"Given that he is a flight risk because he fled from deputies at the time that he was arrested, or brought into custody right around when this case was being investigated. He was chased through Walton County, crashed and had to be arrested by Walton County deputies," Zon said. "Given his extensive criminal history, given that he's on a revocation right now serving seven years, given the nature of the charges - which he's charged with strangling to death his ex-girlfriend - and his prior convictions are a case we will be introducing where he's strangled this same victim previous to this incident and another female victim, we would argue that he is a danger to this community."

Johnson granted the $500,000 bond for the malice murder charge.