Six months into 55-year prison sentence for witness murder - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Steven Pettway requests shock probation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Six months into his 55-year prison sentence for murdering Troya Sheckles, Steven Pettway has asked a judge to release him early on shock probation.

In July, Judge Angela McCormick Bisig followed a jury's recommendation and sentenced Pettway to 55 years after he was convicted of killing Sheckles in Shelby Park in 2009 to prevent her from testifying in another trial.

Now, Pettway's attorney, Leslie Smith, said he has "come to terms with the sentence imposed upon him but has learned through his incarceration that he can, and would, be a productive member of society if given another opportunity to prove himself," according to a motion filed earlier this month.

Smith noted that Pettway was 16 when he murdered Sheckles. At his sentencing, Pettway's attorneys asked for leniency citing his rough upbringing, saying that both his parents were crack addicts and his mother has mental problems.

Pettway, now 21, is eligible for probation because he was a juvenile when the crime occurred.

Judge Bisig set a March 3 hearing date on the request for shock probation.

In an interview, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Jones Brown said the prosecution will object to releasing Pettway early "on the basis of the severity of the offense. He murdered someone in cold blood."

Sheckles, who was gunned down as she watched her young cousin play in Shelby Park in 2009, was supposed to testify against Lloyd Hammond, accused of killing two others in 2006, including Sheckles' boyfriend.

Pettway was found guilty of her murder and intimidating a witness in May. Prosecutors said he was acting at the behest of Lloyd Hammond's brother, Dejaun Hammond.

Dejaun Hammond is also charged with murder and his case is pending.

Sheckles' family members told Bisig in July that Pettway deserved as much prison time as the judge could give him, saying he had shown no remorse for taking the 31-year-old away from them.

At the time, attorneys for Pettway said he didn't show remorse and accept responsibility because he maintained his innocence. The conviction has been appealed.

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