Man accused of killing Nashville nurse to remain in jail while awaiting trial

Judge rejects bond request from Devaunte Hill
devaunte hill in court for hearing
Posted at 10:46 AM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 22:08:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A man accused in the murder of Nashville nurse Caitlyn Kaufman will not be getting out of jail ahead of his trial.

The judge rejected Devaunte Hill's request for bond and he'll remain locked up. The judge in this case decided that Hill's potential threat to the public outweighed his right to a bond and the possibility that he might be released. So he is staying put.

At a hearing in April, Hill's lawyer Georgia Sims had argued it was wrong for Hill to be held without bond for what's been more than a year.

"It is unusual in this jurisdiction that individuals be held without bond even on serious cases," she said.

Sims alleged the court was treating the defendant unfairly.

But prosecutor Jan Norman argued Hill has a violent criminal past and his potential release on bond would put the public at risk.

"Because of that he is very dangerous, the court should consider protecting all the citizens of Davidson County," Norman said.

Read more: Suspect arrested in Nashville nurse's murder had violent juvenile history

In a written order this week, the judge agreed to deny Hill bond. He and co-defendant James Cowan will remain locked up until trial.

The two are accused in the shooting death of Kaufman in December of 2020.

Caitlyn Kaufman

"It's something that is cause for concern and alarming to a lot of residents of Davidson County," said NewsChannel 5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo.

Metro detectives say six rounds were fired into Kaufman's SUV during rush hour traffic on Interstate 440 in Nashville. Kaufman managed to pull to the shoulder but died of a single gunshot wound — unable to call 911. An officer found her in the SUV three hours later.

The question: Who would target a woman seemingly at random?

"People are going to want to know why," said Leonardo.

A week later, a witness helped lead to the arrest of 21-year-old Hill and 28-year-old Cowan.

Police say both were in another car and one of them fired the shot killing Kaufman. Both are charged with first-degree murder.

NewsChannel 5 has learned there is no talk of a plea deal and the district attorney will seek life in prison without parole.

Leonardo says the evidence at trial may finally explain a motive for the senseless crime.

"Did they know the person? Was it road rage? Or was this an accidental discharge playing with a gun and it went off?" Leonardo said.

The witness did say Hill told him he shot Kaufman because he was angry she cut him off in traffic.

That certainly will be part of the testimony at trial, which is scheduled to begin on November 14.