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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A judge has denied a motion to dismiss with prejudice the case against two men accused of killing a key witness in another murder case.
Dismissing with prejudice means the charges could have been dropped and Steven Pettway and Dejuan Hammond could have gone free.
Pettway's trial last month was declared a mistrial. Afterwards, the defense had strong words for prosecutor Tom Van De Rostyne accusing him of prosecutorial misconduct. The mistrial came about because the defense said it did not receive a tape of a witnesses' father until too late.
Pettway and Hammond are accused of killing a key witness in a murder case, Troya Sheckles.
The prosecution maintains that Pettway gunned down Sheckles in broad daylight in Shelby Park in March 2009 because she was set to be a key witness in the murder trial of Lloyd Hammond, Dejuan's brother and Pettway's friend.
The defense says Pettway was a scapegoat. Pettway was originally set to be tried at the same time as Dejuan Hammond, but the two proceedings were split up.
Van De Rostyne and his team spent months on the Troya Sheckles case. Van De Rostyne became emotional when talking about the case. He says, "This family deserves justice and they need it."
He's losing his job at the end of the year after new Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine takes office. He says, "I'll do my job until I walk out the door." His main concern right now is the family of Troya Sheckles.
The Defense says it's disappointed with the judge's ruling and still accuse Van De Rostyne of releasing hundreds of phone calls and other evidence too late.
Ted Shouse, Hammond's attorney says, "Those jail calls were obtained by the Commonwealth on June 5th, 2009. That's 2 1/2 years ago. What else is out there that we don't know about?"
Van De Rostyne says, "I was not aware we had those phone calls. No one wanted to try this case other than the Sheckles family more than me. There is no way we wanted a mistrial."
Pettway's trial is scheduled for May with Hammond's trial set for June.