Why prosecutors let a formerly-convicted murderer out of jail - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Why prosecutors let a formerly-convicted murderer out of jail

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Lloyd Hammond was released from Louisville Metro Department of Corrections Wednesday. Lloyd Hammond was released from Louisville Metro Department of Corrections Wednesday.
Commonwealth Attorney spokesman Leland Hulbert Commonwealth Attorney spokesman Leland Hulbert

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A man had been serving a sentence of life without parole before an appeal overturned his murder convictions. Wednesday, he walked out of jail a free man.

"Jesus Christ." Those two words left Lloyd Hammond's lips, not two seconds after the 28-year-old reputed gang leader and onetime convicted murderer walked out of the Louisville Metropolitan Department of Corrections, only two days after accepting a deal to plead to second-degree manslaughter.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Lloyd Hammond freed from jail]

Only Hammond knows whether the surprise in his eyes came from confronting the cameras stalking his walk, or because of the deal itself.

"But we weren't in the dark about it," Commonwealth Attorney spokesman Leland Hulbert said Wednesday evening. "Did they think he would be released a day or two later?  I don't think so, no."

Hammond had been in custody since police first charged him with killing William Sawyers, Terrell Cherry and Kerry Williams in 2006. He was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to life without parole. Monday's plea to manslaughter bought a 10 year sentence for Williams' death.

"But the way credits and jail time and prison time works in Kentucky rarely, if ever, does someone serve their entire sentence," Hulbert said.

In fact, Kentucky statutes mandate that Hammond serve only two years. Hammond has been in custody seven-and-one-half years.

"We felt like we had problems absolutely securing a murder conviction," Hulbert explained.

Especially, after a trial judge ruled, again, that prosecutors wouldn't be able to admit recorded statements from Sawyers' girlfriend, Troya Sheckles. Police claim Sheckles' statements would tie Hammond to Sawyers' murder, but Sheckles herself was murdered before Hammond's first trial. 

Prosecutors believe Hammond contracted Sheckles' murder, but have not charged him. Sheckles statements are one reason an appeals court cited for overturning Hammond's murder convictions in 2012.

"It wasn't the fact that they were inadmissible," former Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Tom Van DeRostyne said. "It was that the procedure used to make them admissible for those prior proceedings was improper."

Prosecutors want to re-try Hammond for Sawyers and Cherry's murders, but they had to dismiss those charges against him in order to appeal the Judge's ruling disallowing Sheckles' testimony.

"Can we re-try without it?" Hulbert asked. "That decision hasn't been made yet."

Hammond uttered only two more words, repeatedly, before his appointed ride picked him up outside LMDC: "Watch it."

"The (victim's) families were consulted through the entire process," Hulbert said, when asked if they approved of the plea deal.

Sheckles family has been unreachable for comment.

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