Mistrial in Hammond case could put other cases in jeopardy - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Mistrial in Hammond case could put other cases in jeopardy

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Troya Sheckles (Source: Family photo) Troya Sheckles (Source: Family photo)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A Jefferson Circuit Court judge declared a mistrial in the murder case of Dejuan Hammond on Tuesday and now the prosecutor's office is having to come to its own defense.

Hammond was being tried for planning the March 23, 2009 murder of Troya Sheckles, the star witness in a murder trial of Hammond's brother, Lloyd Hammond.

"This is the exception not the rule of how our office does business," Commonwealth Attorney Office's spokesperson Leland Hulbert said during a press conference.

His girlfriend at the time gave detectives an alibi for Hammond, but the defense claimed they never received a summary of that conversation.

"We've said all along that the Commonwealth manufactured evidence of Dejuan's guilt and hid evidence of his innocence," Hammond's defense attorney Ted Shouse said.

The ruling left strong emotions in the prosecutor's office.

"It's one of the most disappointing experiences to be honest with you in nearly 30 years I've been prosecuting here," Prosecutor Jim Lesousky said.

Defense attorneys have accused the former prosecutor, Tom Van De Rostyne, of mishandling the case.

"It was hidden, it was cut out. There was an attempt to tamper with the report," Shouse said.

The prosecutor's office admitted to the mistake but said there is no reason to believe Rostyne hid any information on purpose.

"We have to give them the rules of evidence and the rules of discovery. We intend to do that on every case and we strive to do that on every case. It did not happen on this case," Hulbert said.

Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine, who ran and won against Van De Rostyne, has now ordered that any open case involving him be reviewed.

That could be more than 20 cases.

WAVE 3 News spoke to Rostyne over the phone Tuesday but he did not wish to comment.

Hammond was originally scheduled to be tried last fall. Prosecutors dropped the charges after they were unable to find key witnesses in the case. Hammond was reindicted by a grand jury in January.

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