Dejuan Hammond re-charged with murder after witnesses found
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The next chapter in one of Louisville's most infamous murder stories unfolded Friday morning.
The state is charging Dejuan Hammond with murder -- again.
Hammond is accused of killing Troya Sheckles to prevent her from testifying against his brother in connection to a different murder case. This morning, during Hammond's arraignment, prosecutors say they've found some of the witnesses that went missing before Hammond's last trial.
"I think there was problem with witnesses, because this is a trial about a witness being killed," said prosecutor Elizabeth Jones Brown.
Hammond's lawyers entered a not guilty plea this morning on the new indictment for Troya Sheckles' murder.
"I want to know everything that happened regarding their efforts to find Mr. Kinnison and Mr. Hurt, from last summer in the run-up to the previous trial, through today," said Ted Shouse, Hammond's defense attorney. "I think they have a duty to disclose that to us. I think quite frankly this is gamesmanship, and this whole case feels tainted to me."
"We don't have any new evidence that is discoverable under the rules in case law," said Brown.
Sheckles was gunned down in broad daylight in Shelby Park in March 2009. In May, a jury recommended Hammond's co-defendant, Steven Pettway, sentenced to 55 years in prison for killing Sheckles.
Prosecutors say Pettway acted on Dejuan Hammond orders, because Sheckles had agreed weeks earlier to testify against his brother, Lloyd, in connection to the 2006 murder of her boyfriend and two other men.
But two months ago, the state dismissed the case against Dejuan Hammond because prosecutors couldn't find two witnesses, Ike Kinnison and Don'Teze Hurt. Last month, Kinnison was arrested and is now in Louisville Metro Corrections.
Hammond claimed everything from conspiracy to corruption, pleading his innocence to WDRB's Gilbert Corsey in a 2012 jailhouse interview.
"Did you have anything to do with the murder of Troya Sheckles?" Corsey asked Hammond in 2012.
"No sir, no sir," Hammond replied, back then. "That's why I'm here with no lawyer, no Christopher 2x. None of that. You can't incriminate yourself if your innocent."
Today, Hammond remains behind bars on several other felony charges. His lawyers are pushing to end this case once and for all.
"We'd be ready to go to trial on Monday, judge," Shouse told the judge today. "If you're not available on Monday, we'll start this trial Monday morning. If not, we'll go next Monday. If that one won't work, we'll take Monday after that."
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