The Boise man who's accused in the Main Street motel attack was arrested for a knife assault at another motel in December.
Thomas L. Herman was let out of jail on unsupervised probation against that victim's wishes.
Diane Marie Cain told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday that she was not surprised the 55-year-old Herman is now a murder suspect.
"He was trying to murder me. I miraculously got away from him and managed to run," said Cain, 46. "I was really upset when I found out they were letting him out."
Authorities have not released the name of the woman found dead Tuesday in Herman's room at the Cabana Inn, 1600 Main St. Cain said the victim was homeless.
The Ada County coroner expects to release her identity Wednesday after notifying family.
Described by authorities only as a middle-age woman who was known to Herman, the victim died of blunt force trauma because of an assault, the coroner said.
It's the third murder case for Boise police this year, after having just one in 2012.
Herman is in the Ada County Jail without bail and is expected to appear before a judge Wednesday. Police released few details about the case and said the investigation is ongoing.
Officers were called to the Cabana Inn about 7 a.m. for a report of a disturbance and suspicious death. Herman was arrested hours later.
Herman faced prison time after his December arrest but a deal allowed him to plead guilty to misdemeanor disturbing the peace. He originally was charged with aggravated assault and use of a deadly weapon in commission of a felony.
Officers arrived at the Budget Inn in December to find Cain wrapped in only a blanket. She told them she'd been dating Herman for about two months and split her time between the motel and a homeless shelter, according to a December hearing at which prosecutors established probable cause to charge Herman with a crime.
Cain told police that she and Herman were drinking and "everything appeared to be OK, then all of a sudden, Mr. Herman grabbed a knife and threatened to kill her," prosecutors said. "He stated 'I'm going to end your life.' "
Herman grabbed Cain by an arm and tried to hold her down, but she fled and asked hotel employees for help.
Officers found Herman at the motel, where he told them Cain woke him up and "he stated that he would kill (her)," calling the woman a profane name, according to the hearing.
An officer asked Herman whether he had tried to kill her, and Herman responded that he had only threatened to.
An Ada County deputy prosecutor told 4th District Magistrate Judge John Hawley that Cain opposed the plea deal that spared Herman prison time.
The prosecutor recommended the judge approve it anyway, however, and Hawley did so without question on Jan. 10.
The prosecutor told Hawley that he'd spoken with Cain Jan. 9 to inform her of the deal.
"She ... wanted to see Mr. Herman in prison. I told her I'd express that to the court for her," the prosecutor told Hawley.
The judge then asked Herman whether he wished to speak; Herman declined. The hearing lasted just a few minutes.
Hawley, who has served on the bench since 2007, declined to speak with an Idaho Statesman reporter Tuesday afternoon, saying through a court official that he was awaiting a jury verdict for a driving without privileges case.
Hawley's decision allowed Herman to get out of jail, where he had been since his arrest. The sentence called for Herman to spend 180 days in jail, but 160 days were suspended, and he was credited for time already served and allowed work release.
Cain said court officials told her that the case lacked evidence and that it was essentially her word against his, though she said she knows of another woman attacked in a motel by Herman last summer.
"He's known as a nut," Cain said.
Meghann M. Cuniff: 377-6418