Steven Pettway during his sentencing hearing on July 15, 2013.
Troya Sheckles (Source: Family photo)
The scene in Shelby Park on March 23, 2009 after Sheckles was murdered.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A man convicted of killing a witness in a murder case before she could testify was formally sentenced on Monday.
Judge Angela McCormick Bisig sentenced Steven Pettway, 21, to a prison term of 50 years for the murder of Troya Sheckles and five years for intimidating a witness. Bisig ruled the sentences will run concurrently. A Jefferson County jury recommended the sentence in May, but the panel suggested the sentences run consecutively.
During the proceedings, defense attorneys for Pettway requested their client's sentence be reduced.
"We would ask the court to impose a sentence of less than fifty years and leave the in the court's discretion," said Peter Schuler, Pettway's defense attorney.
To the request, prosecutors instead insisted the sentence of 55 years recommended by jurors be upheld.
Family members of Sheckles also voiced requests during a victim impact statement that Pettway be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
"20 years, 30 years, 50 years, the rest of his life, death, whatever. He deserves it" said one of Sheckles' cousins.
"There's no remorse in him so he does not deserve to get any leniency because he acts like nothing has happened, and it has," said another of Sheckles' cousins.
Following the victim impact statement, Pettway's mother had to be escorted for the courtroom after making an outburst from the audience.
Pettway was convicted in the March 23, 2009 murder of Sheckles, 31. She was shot to death in Shelby Park before she could testify at the trial of Lloyd Hammond, the man accused of killing her boyfriend while Sheckles watched. The defense argued that Pettway was influenced by the much older Hammond.
Because Pettway was a juvenile at the time of the murder, he could have been sentenced to probation. After serving 20 years of his sentence, Pettway could become eligible for parole. Defense attorneys for Pettway said he plans to appeal his sentence.
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