Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

February 25, 2014

Hofer bond sliced in half; reckless homicide defendant unlikely to be released

EFFINGHAM — Bond has been cut in half for an Effingham woman accused of DUI and reckless homicide in connection with the traffic death last December of a Watson teenager.

But if testimony from Melly R. Hofer's sister during Tuesday's bond reduction hearing is any indication, the 35-year-old Hofer won't be getting out of jail any time soon.

During a Tuesday afternoon hearing in Effingham County Circuit Court, Judge J. Marc Kelly split the difference between arguments made by Assistant State's Attorney Scott Ealy and defense attorney Ed Deters by slicing Hofer's bond in half to $100,000. Ealy had asked for no reduction from the current bond of $200,000, while Deters had argued that the suspect's bond should be reduced to the $10,000 her sister testified the family could handle.

Defendants need only post 10 percent of their bond to be released from jail. Hofer's sister, Elizabeth Beach, had testified Tuesday that the family could raise $1,000 to ensure Hofer's release from jail, where she has been held since her arrest last week.

Hofer, 35, was indicted last week on charges of driving under the influence of drugs and reckless homicide in connection with the Dec. 5 death of Brittany Baker, 17. Baker had been on her way to Effingham High School at the time of the accident near Central School in Effingham.

Kelly said he took into account Hofer's lack of criminal history when making his decision. But he said the seriousness of the charges still needed to be taken into account.

"The severity of the charge still requires a significant bond," the judge said.

Kelly set a number of conditions for Hofer to remain free on bond, if she is released. She must, for example, surrender her driver's license, abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs and submit to random drug and alcohol testing.

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