Defense attorneys in Dejuan Hammond murder case call actions fro - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Defense attorneys in Dejuan Hammond murder case call actions from prosecutors "offensive"

Posted: Updated:
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- Attorneys for murder defendant Dejuan Hammond on Tuesday called it "offensive" that the Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney's office is fighting an attempt to have officials testify about why evidence was purposefully removed from a case file given to the defense.

In a motion filed in Jefferson Circuit Court Tuesday, attorneys Ted Shouse and Annie O'Connell criticized an argument from the prosecution that finding out why evidence was withheld in the murder case is not "relevant."

"It is offensive to read that this community's prosecutors don't care how their own office hid exculpatory evidence for over five years," Shouse and O'Connell wrote.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has acknowledged evidence was apparently “intentionally” removed from the file, but is asking a judge to prohibit defense attorneys from forcing officials to testify about this issue on June 12.

In particular, the prosecutio
n has asked Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Angela McCormick Bisig to quash a subpoena for Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine to testify, saying, in part, that he has no information to offer about the issue.

Hammond's attorneys have also subpoenaed the lead detective in the case and a former prosecutor to testify as to why a summary of an interview with Hammond's former girlfriend, Princess Bolin, was not disclosed until during his murder trial in April, five years after investigators first obtained the evidence.

The case ended in a mistrial and the defense has asked that it be dismissed, in part, because of prosecutorial misconduct. A hearing could be held as soon as Wednesday on whether Wine will be called to testify.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dorislee Gilbert said in her motion last week that, “while it might be inviting to want to know the reason that this happened, the reason it happened is not relevant” to the issue before the court, which is whether the case should move forward to another trial or be dismissed.

There currently is no explanation for how the investigative summary of Bolin’s interview went years without being turned over to the defense and “the good or bad faith of the prosecutor who filed” the evidence originally does not change the fact that it was improperly withheld, Gilbert added.

She said a hearing with Wine, the former prosecutor, Tom Van De Rostyne and the detective in the case, Louisville Metro Police Detective Roy Stalvey, would only allow Hammond’s defense to “make irrelevant accusations in person against the former prosecutor.”

In her motion to quash Wine's subpoena, Gilbert argues that Wine never supervised Van De Rostyne and has no knowledge of how he put the Hammond case together.

But Shouse and O'Connell argue that Bisig has the authority to conduct a hearing into how and why the evidence was withheld and that while prosecutors may not believe Wine has any relevant information, "the commonwealth's lack of imagination should not drive this court's decision-making process."

Wine said in April that his office will look at all pending criminal cases that were assigned to Van De Rostyne to determine if there was any evidence not turned over to defense attorneys.

"We are going to make sure there are no other time bombs out there," Wine said.

Gilbert said in an interview this week that she did not know where that investigation stood and the office would argue it's case in court, not the media.

Bisig declared a mistrial in the murder trial of Hammond on April 15, a day after Hammond's defense team complained of "prosecutorial misconduct," saying investigators had for years had the summary of Bolin’s interview.

In August 2009, several months after Sheckles' murder, Bolin told Stalvey she knew nothing of the murder and had been at the Jefferson Mall with Hammond when Sheckles was shot to death in Shelby Park.

Defense attorneys accused Van De Rostyne of not only not turning over the evidence, but of purposefully hiding it and keeping it from attorneys because it contained exculpatory information. 

Wine fired Van De Rostyne after he was elected in 2012. Van De Rostyne had run against Wine and lost in the primary.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Lesousky, one of the prosecutors now handling the case, took the blame for not finding the summary and turning it over.

Van De Rostyne, now with the Attorney General's office, has declined to comment.

Leland Hulbert, a spokesman for the Commonwealth Attorney's Office, has said the office talked with Van De Rostyne and he didn't remember how it happened, noting there were hundreds of pages in the file.  

Prosecutors have said a co-defendant, Steven Pettway, was acting at the behest of Dejuan Hammond, because Sheckles had agreed weeks earlier to testify against Lloyd in the 2006 murder of her boyfriend and two other men.

Bolin testified in May at the Pettway trial that Hammond sent her into Shelby Park to look for a woman and report back to him shortly before Sheckles was killed. Pettway was convicted of murder and sentenced to 55 years in prison last year.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All rights reserved.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.