LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - He's on trial for killing a woman so she couldn't testify in another murder trial. Jurors have already heard from more than a dozen witnesses as they try to decide if Steven Pettway is guilty of murdering Troya Sheckles.
Prosecutors said Dejuan Hammond paid Steven Pettway to kill Troya Sheckles, 31. Pettway's attorney said Hammond is just trying to use Pettway to stay out of jail.
Pettway's attorney said he was an impressionable 16-year-old when Sheckles was killed. He had just moved to Louisville less than a year before and that is the reason Hammond is using her client as a scape-goat. "It's easy to blame a 16 year-old kid for this crime," said Leslie Smith.
Prosecutors said Sheckles was in Shelby Park on March 23, 2009 with her boyfriend and dog when the people who live nearby saw her gunned down. "After hearing the first three or four gunshots, I saw a guy running a girl, shooting and running this way, this direction," testified a witness who asked not to be identified for safety reasons.
Prosecutors said Sheckles was the only target. Police testified she was an indispensable witness in the murder trial of Lloyd Hammond, Dejuan's brother. Lloyd Hammond is charged with killing Sheckles boyfriend in 2006. That case was dropped once when Sheckles didn't appear for trial. "Lloyd Hammond was fully aware that his case was dismissed because Ms. Sheckles was not available and it was reindicted because she was now available," explained Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Jones Brown to jurors.
Jones Brown said Dejuan Hammond was in the courtroom that day, one month before Sheckles was killed.
Hammond will be tried on the same charges as Pettway separately. Pettway is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years.
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