Outrage ensues after judge's decision to release murder suspect

Outrage ensues after judge's decision to release murder suspect
Judge Sean Delahanty (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Judge Sean Delahanty (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - This week there was outrage after a man accused of murder was released on home incarceration instead of going to jail.

"I'm going to put him on HIP," Judge Sean Delahanty said during the arraignment hearing Thursday, the day after the shooting and the suspect's arrest.

"I got absolutely no information about this case," Delahanty said.

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Delahanty pointed to the arrest slip, which stated Deandre Williams admitted to intentionally shooting and killing Robert Leachman. But Delahanty blamed officers, saying they did not explain enough about the crime.

He was granted home incarceration instead of a $100,000 bond.

The prosecutor tried to make her case.

"This presents a danger to the community," the prosecutor told the judge. "Certainly in the citation, while it may be a little short in the verbiage, it does have, certainly has, indicates he has made a statement to intentionally shooting and killing somebody," she said. "HIP with releases would not be appropriate at this point in time."

Delahanty goes on to say everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

"The presumption of innocence, is fundamental to American society," Delahanty said. "Even if he has confessed to shooting him, there are defenses."

Public outrage ensued on social media, the police chief's office and among officers.

"It was ridiculous," FOP president Dave Mutchler said. "Who are we jailing if not alleged murderers?"

Mutchler believes the police report did give the judge enough information and says he was stunned.

"I didn't believe that it actually happened until I actually watched it to make sure," he said.

But a previous WAVE 3 News investigation titled Locked Out of Jail in May found there were 26 other murder suspects also granted home incarceration. In some cases, some had also admitted to their involvement.

"It tells the community in which these crimes are occurring that the system doesn't have your back," Josh Crawford, with the Pegasus Institute, said.

Crawford studies crime in Louisville and believes judges in other counties would not grant murder suspects HIP with as much frequency as it happens here.

Crawford was one of several people who said this case may spook people from helping police.

We walked down a street in which a shooting had just occurred Friday. Several people told us what happened in William's case took them aback. But they all declined to go on camera, citing they feared being targeted for speaking publicly about a crime.

"They try to promote, tell, tell, tell, which is the right thing to do but at the end of the day when you have to live there what are you going to do," one woman said.

Delahanty was appointed to arraignment court Aug. 1.

He posted a picture of a cake on Instagram three days before William's hearing. It was celebrating the move to arraignment court. In that post, Delahanty stated he was heading into a new project. He then asked "What jail overcrowding?"

We reached out to the judge to explain his comment and to talk about William's case, but did not hear back as of Friday evening.

Meanwhile, Crawford worries jail overcrowding should not be a factor when it comes to violent crimes.

"To balance that overcrowding problem on the backs of homicide defendants seems like a very backwards way to approach it to me," he said.

Delahanty let 10 other people out on HIP Thursday. One judge said off the record, that number alone is not uncommon.

We also spoke to another attorney who explained arrest reports sometimes do not have many details about a murder, but that those are provided away from the public eye during the probable cause hearing which usually happens a few days after the arraignment hearing.

LMPD would not comment further, outside of Chief Steve Conrad's statement claiming he was "astonished" and "incredibly disappointed" over the judge's decision.

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