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July 11, 2018

Victim’s family ‘shocked and appalled’ about the decision judge passed down

Grethel resident Kimberly Akers appeared in Floyd Circuit Court on July 5 to be arraigned on murder, assault and driving under the influence charges related to the death of Heidi Hamilton and injuries suffered by Chris Hamilton in a Dec. 14, 2017, crash that was allegedly caused when Akers was driving under the influence of drugs. Floyd Chronicle and Times photo by Mary MeadowsGrethel resident Kimberly Akers appeared in Floyd Circuit Court on July 5 to be arraigned on murder, assault and driving under the influence charges related to the death of Heidi Hamilton and injuries suffered by Chris Hamilton in a Dec. 14, 2017, crash that was allegedly caused when Akers was driving under the influence of drugs. Floyd Chronicle and Times photo by Mary Meadows

Floyd Commonwealth's Atty. says he 'understands why the family is upset', blames decision on state

An accused murderer was released from custody at the Floyd County Detention Center on July 5, a few hours after a reduction of the bond in her case.

Floyd County Circuit Judge Johnny Ray Harris reduced the $250,000 cash bond previously set for 44-year-old Kimberly Akers to $50,000 cash or $100,000 property, following a request from attorney Athanasia N. Lewis and a review of recommendations from officials with pretrial services.

Akers appeared in court that day to be arraigned on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree assault and driving under the influence.

Lewis, standing in for attorney Robbie Wright at the hearing, waived the formal arraignment and entered a not guilty plea on Akers’ behalf.

Akers was indicted in June for allegedly murdering Heidi Ann Hamilton, 38, of Craynor, and assaulting her finance Chris Hamilton, 37, in a Dec. 14, 2017, crash that police claim was caused because Akers was driving under the influence of drugs.

Chris Hamilton, who was hospitalized for five months after the crash, and other members of Heidi Hamilton’s family attended the hearing.

In her motion to reduce the bond, Lewis said Akers could post a substantial bond of $100,000 worth of property or around $20,000 in cash. She said Akers has not been incarcerated for the past six months and she has not violated the law in that time. She said Akers is not a flight risk.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Turner opposed the motion, asking Harris to keep Akers’ bond at $250,000, citing the severity of the charges against her.

Harris reviewed a recommendation from the court’s pretrial services division before entering his ruling. He said he didn’t like reducing her bond, but was relying on that recommendation. He warned Akers that she if she posted bond, she’d be placed on home incarceration under the “highest supervision” and drug testing available in Floyd County. He warned her that she would return to jail if she has one violation of the law.

The Hamilton family was not pleased with the outcome. Outside the courtroom, Heidi Hamilton’s mother Susan Gillespie Newsome of North Carolina was brought to tears, talking about her daughter, and her sister Heather Tackett said laws should be changed.

“We are just shocked and appalled about the decision that the judge passed down, that she’s only spent a few days in jail after a whole six months of waiting to be put in jail for murder and assault and DUI. It doesn’t make any sense to us,” said Tackett.

She said, “it’s not fair” that Akers can post bond and be released from jail.

“Our roads are horrible right now,” she said. “The drug problem around here is awful and it’s not going to get better by letting people off with a hand slap all the time. Something has to change,” she said.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner said he understands why the family is upset after Akers’ bond was reduced. He explained, however, that the pretrial services report that Harris relied on is regulated by the state through a computer program that assesses a person’s likelihood of being a danger to the community and/or appearing for court dates.

“In light of the bond that Frankfort and the Administrative Office of the Courts, what they would like to see, that was probably a higher bond than what would have been recommended under the, there’s a computer program that makes recommendation and the state actually wants the judges to follow those recommendations,” Turner said. “It would have come back low risk and would have actually recommended a much lower bond than what she got.”

 

By Mary Meadows
Floyd County Chronicle and Times

 

 

 

Comments  

+1 #2 no way 2018-07-13 01:58
She was dui, killed one, put one in the hospital 6 months and she gets a reduced bond? Who is over the Administrative Office of the Courts? Wonder if they would make this decision if it was their family?
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+1 #1 What? 2018-07-12 01:51
A computer program that does their job? A computer program doesn’t have a personality, pity, or empathy. This is a complete joke when software tells us what’s best, especially in a case like this. If I was this family I’d be completely p---ed off, software doesn’t know the meaning of true justice.
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