More evidence filed in Dejuan Hammond murder case that defense claims was withheld
The defense also claims there is a video interview and investigative letter still missing
Tuesday, July 22nd 2014, 1:03 pm EDT by
Thursday, July 24th 2014, 10:18 am EDT
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- Defense attorneys for high-profile murder defendant Dejuan Hammond have found and filed in court 44 more pages of evidence not turned over by prosecutors, much of which they claim is "undeniably exculpatory."
Also, attorneys Ted Shouse and Annie O'Connell claim they have been told by prosecutors there is a video with a person that "once existed but is now apparently lost" and an investigative letter regarding the interview with the person is also missing.
This is the third time this year that the defense has found or received evidence in the 2009 murder case that they say was concealed and purposefully withheld by the Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
"Every time we turn around there is something new," Shouse said in an interview. "What else is out there?"
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Angela McCormick Bisig recently allowed Shouse and O'Connell to go through the original police file after she ruled twice that prosecutors had "wrongly" not turned over evidence in the case.
Shouse said the defense found the additional 44 pages in about an hour-and-a half on Monday and note in their filing Tuesday that more information is missing.
Bisig – who has twice refused to dismiss the case based on alleged prosecutorial misconduct – has set a hearing for next week on the additional documents.
Hammond is supposed to stand trial next month for the murder of Troya Sheckles, who was shot to death in Shelby Park in 2009, allegedly to prevent her from testifying against Dejuan Hammond's brother, Lloyd Hammond.
A previous trial of Dejuan Hammond in April
of an interview with Hammond’s former girlfriend, in which she provided him an alibi, was mistakenly not turned over to the defense.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elizabeth Jones Brown has said the prosecution did a thorough search of the Hammond police file after the mistrial and recently found and turned over 24 more pages.
Jones Brown has not returned phone messages asking about the additional 44 pages the defense discovered and whether they were also improperly withheld. Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine was out of town and had not yet viewed the additional evidence, according to a spokesperson for the office.
Among the evidence found by the defense is a waiver of rights form signed by a woman named Melanie Shelton, who on July 13, 2012 identified pictures of Hammond’s girlfriend, Princess Bolin, Hammond, and Hammond's co-defendant, Steven Pettway.
Shouse say they don’t know who the woman is or what she told police.
Also there is a mugshot of Albert Mack, whose fingerprints were found near the scene of the murder. In addition, there is an April 1, 2011 letter forwarded to then-Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White from an inmate at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville who claimed he had information on the Sheckles murder.
There is also a June 30, 2010 identification by someone of Dion Neal, who was charged in a separate murder.
And there is a 911 call where a woman told police that Sheckles threatened to kill her a week before the shooting.
Shouse also said prosecutors have told him there is yet another file on the case at the Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney’s office.
The defense has accused former prosecutor Tom Van De Rostyne of hiding evidence favorable to Hammond.
Wine, who fired Van De Rostyne when he took office in 2012, after both ran for the position, has testified that his office had "clearly" concealed some evidence and not turned it over to defense attorneys, though he doesn’t know the reasoning behind the decision.
An internal investigation is ongoing.
Van De Rostyne, who has declined to comment about the Hammond case, has testified previously that he deleted the interview with Bolin to protect the witness's safety and it was accidentally not turned over to the defense. He has denied any wrongdoing.
While Bisig has declined to dismiss the case, she will allow the defense to "inform the jury" that evidence long in possession of investigators was only recently turned over.
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