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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A Jefferson County jury has recommended that convicted murderer Steven Pettway serve a 55-year jail sentence, including 50 years for murder, and five for intimidating a witness.
Pettway has already been convicted of killing a woman in broad daylight in a public park.
Pettway faced 20 years to life in the March 2009 shooting death of Troya Sheckles at Shelby Park. The jury deliberated for four hours Wednesday afternoon. Pettway was found guilty of murder and intimidation.
On Thursday, Pettway's attorney Peter Schuler told the jury, "We'll hear about domestic violence, you'll hear about drug abuse by parents...mentally ill mother, living on the edge, not having enough food, that sort of thing. Like I said, that's not an excuse, because even if somebody suffers from that, they have to figure out some way to overcome it."
After the sentencing was handed down, Wanda Carter, Troya's aunt, said her reaction was, "Relief. Happy. It's just overwhelming. But I'm very satisfied with the sentence. And he needs to spend the rest of his life in prison. That's how I feel."
Steven Pettway's brother Eric said, "If anything, I just want them to know that I appreciate their time and that I'm sorry about all this and that...I'm just sorry. I'm sorry that it had to be like this."
Dejuan Hammond is also charged in connection with Sheckles' death. Prosecutors say Sheckles was an eyewitness to another murder involving Hammond's brother Lloyd. She had agreed to testify against him after prosecutors had her swear before a judge that she would show up for his trial.
Sheckles was shot several times in broad daylight while watching her niece play in the park.
"This was obviously an intentional murder. Steven Pettway was not out for a jog, in a jogging suit with a bandana on his face and accidentally shot three times into Troya's back. This was a deliberate, intentional murder," Jones Brown told the jury on Wednesday.
The defense argued on Wednesday that Pettway had nothing to do with Sheckles' shooting. "There is no physical evidence at all , in any form, fashion, whatsoever against Steven Pettway," Defense Attorney Leslie Smith told the jurors.