Tompkinsville News

Posted February 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm

A Monroe County man will most likely remain behind bars until his trial date. Charles Hammer, 81, Tompkinsville, had his bond raised from $150,000 to $5,000,000 by Monroe County Circuit Judge David Williams on Wednesday, February 6. Hammer is charged in the murder of former Monroe County Sheriff and long-time law enforcement officer, Herbert “Sprockett” Proffitt in August 2012.

According to testimony heard in the bond hearing held in William’s courtroom on Wednesday, one of Hammer’s daughters–Patrice Peterson of Morristown, Tennessee–came to the Monroe County Circuit Clerk’s office on Thursday, January 31, with $150,000 in cash to pay for her father’s bond and obtain his release. However, when the clerk’s deputies told Peterson they could not accept a sum of cash that large, she left the office. Commonwealth Attorney Jesse Stockton then learned of Peterson’s intentions and immediately requested a bond hearing before Williams, which was granted and set for February 6.

Stockton told the Court that there was a lengthy list of evidence now available, which was not previously documented when the original bond was set by Judge Steve Hurt. (Hurt had been filling the bench following the illness and subsequent death of then-Circuit Judge Eddie C. Lovelace.)

Stockton told the courtroom full of observers that several threats had been made by Hammer against current and former elected officials, including Monroe County Judge-Executive Tommy Willett, Tompkinsville Police Chief Dale “Frog” Ford, Monroe County Constables Darrell Jackson and Frank Massingille, and former police officer Darrell Ford.

Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Dale Martin testified that Hammer made the alleged threats during a tape-recorded interview held at Hammer’s arrest and while waiting for the Kentucky State Police detectives to arrive at the Tompkinsville Police Department where Hammer was being held for questioning.

Martin then told the court that Hammer detailed the murder of Proffitt and said “he’d have also killed Willett if he had the time and hadn’t been caught,” noting that Hammer told Martin that “he (Hammer) was dead already.”

Martin also testified that Hammer mentioned Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James R. Comer, District Judge Kristi Castillo, Monroe County Attorney Wes Stephens, now-Circuit Judge David Williams and Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Clay Hundley in his accusations of general government corruption.

The gun used in the murder of Proffitt, KSP Detective Ricky Brooks and Martin both testified, has still not been located. Brooks stated that Hammer refused to reveal the location of the firearm.

In closing arguments, Hammer’s attorney, Greg Berry, asked that Hammer’s bond be left at $150,000, citing that he had been assessed as “low risk by the pre-trial officer and, if released, would not reside in Monroe County while awaiting trial. Hammer, he said, would reside with his daughter in east Tennessee and submit to any type monitoring the court felt necessary.

Stockton, who closed by reiterating the level of danger exhibited by Hammer, told the court that the accused murderer was a “very dangerous man.”

Williams agreed with the Commonwealth Attorney, noting that Hammer himself had stated that “he didn’t” have anything to lose and that his general lack of remorse proved that Hammer was not only a threat to himself, but also to the community at large, and ordered that Hammer’s bond be amended to $5,000,000 cash.