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Channahon Township murder suspect out of jail, girlfriend gets protection order

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 10:32 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 21, 2017 6:57 a.m. CDT
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James F. Hess

CHANNAHON TOWNSHIP – A Channahon Township woman has obtained an order of protection against her boyfriend, who allegedly killed her son last weekend.

James F. Hess, 65, has been charged with first-degree murder for the April 14 death of Nathan A. Hofkamp. On Tuesday, Hess posted 10 percent of his $1 million bond, but he will not be allowed to return to his girlfriend’s residence, where he had been living, in the 25000 block of Canal Road.

Judge Fred Harvey granted an order of protection to Kathy Hofkamp, according to Will County court records.

On Friday, Nathan Hofkamp, 29, was released on parole from the Vienna Correctional Center, where he’d been serving time for 2016 convictions for theft and aggravated assault in Cook County. A small celebration was held that night at Kathy Hofkamp’s house.

“James wanted to go to sleep. We were all drinking,” Kathy Hofkamp wrote in her protection order request.

After Nathan Hofkamp said they’d move the party to the backyard, Hess went to the basement and fired three shots from a gun.

“Then he came up and aimed the gun at all three of us and said, ‘Now who’s not going to sleep?’ ’’ Kathy Hofkamp wrote. “Nathan [went] around the wall to get the gun away from Jim and Jim shot him.”

Hess then grabbed Kathy Hofkamp, who was trying to get to a phone to call 911. Once she was able to make the call, Hess went outside with the gun and eventually surrendered to police, she wrote.

Kathy Hofkamp wrote she moved in with Hess three years ago “to be his caregiver,” and they later became a couple.

“There have been many other instances of physical abuse ... also including a gun over the years,” she wrote to the court. “I fear for my life.”

Hess is not allowed within 1,000 feet of Hofkamp. He would be allowed to pick up his clothing and medication from the residence if law enforcement was present, according to the court order.

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