Jury recommends sentence for Steven Pettway - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Jury recommends sentence for Steven Pettway

Steven Pettway Steven Pettway
Troya Sheckles (Source: Family photo) Troya Sheckles (Source: Family photo)
The scene in Shelby Park where Troya Sheckles was murdered. The scene in Shelby Park where Troya Sheckles was murdered.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A Jefferson County jury has recommended that Steven Pettway serve 55 years in prison for the death of Troya Sheckles.

A sentence of 50 years was recommended on the murder conviction. The additional five years was on the charge of intimidating a participant in the legal process. The jury recommended Pettway, 20, serve the sentences consecutively.

One day after Steven Pettway was found guilty for murder and intimidation surrounding the death of Troya Sheckles, jurors recommended a 55 year sentence. It's justice according to Sheckles' family.

"Relief, happy, it's just over overwhelming," said Wanda Carter, Sheckles' aunt.

During the penalty phase, defense attorney Pete Schuler urged the jury to remember that Pettway was just 16 years old at the time of this murder.

"I think he showed a lot of maturity throughout this proceeding and acted very respectful towards the process and we are very thankful for that," said Schuler.

In March of 2009, Sheckles was found shot to death in Shelby Park before she could testify in Lloyd Hammond's trial. Hammond is accused of killing Sheckles' boyfriend while Sheckles watched. The defense argued that Pettway was influenced by much older Hammond.

Pettway's older brother, Eric Pettway, was called to testify on behalf of his brother. He told the jury his parents were drug addicts and his father was abusive.

"My father use to beat my mom all the time with his fists," said Pettway.

While he says he still believes his brother is innocent., he respects the jury's decision. "I'm just sorry," said Pettway. "I'm just sorry this all had to be like this."

The Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office believes this verdict and sentence make a huge statement.

"This sort of behavior and this intimidation of a witness, this interference of the judicial sentence will not be tolerated here in Jefferson County," said Elizabeth Jones Brown, prosecutor.

As for Sheckles family, this is just want they needed to help them get through. "It's been real hectic, but with the grace of God, we've tried to hold up and move forward and now we can," said Carter.

The jury returned their recommendation after less than two hours of deliberation.

The formal sentencing will be held on July 15. Pettway could be eligible for probation because he was a juvenile at the time of the offense.

Copyright 2013 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

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