Prosecutors put on defense as Dejuan Hammond's attorneys request - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Prosecutors put on defense as Dejuan Hammond's attorneys request dismissal

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – While attorneys for Dejuan Hammond asked for a third time Tuesday to dismiss his murder case based on prosecutorial misconduct, prosecutors put on a spirited defense of the office and asked a judge to let a jury decide Hammond’s fate.

Defense attorneys Ted Shouse and Annie O’Connell told Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Angela McCormick Bisig that prosecutors have withheld evidence in the murder case three times, including twice this month, and there is no way Hammond can get a fair trial at this point.

“The prosecution has fallen apart and there is no integrity left in these proceedings,” Shouse told Bisig. “…They are either doing it on purpose or it’s an incredible lack of oversight.”

Bisig, who has twice before declined to dismiss the case based on prosecutorial misconduct, expressed her own weariness over more evidence resurfacing just weeks before trial.

“I would like this to be it,” she said, eventually declining to make an immediate ruling on whether the case will move forward.

But prosecutors said most of the documents that have been found or turned over to the defense have been irrelevant to the case, were already provided or point to Hammond as the culprit.

“We want him to have a fair trial,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Lesousky, who apologized for his part in failing to turn over the summary of a witness interview earlier this year, which lead to a mistrial.

The Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has acknowledged its mistake earlier this year in not turning over the summary of an interview with Princess Bolin, Hammond’s former girlfriend who at one time provided him an alibi; but they denied any misconduct.

“Nothing about this should cause this case to be dismissed,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elizabeth Jones Brown told Bisig.

Hammond is set to go to 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 his brother, Lloyd Hammond.

Bisig asked prosecutors and the defense to go through each of the 32 pages of documents Shouse and O’Connell found after getting permission to go through the police file in the case.

Her order allowing the police file review followed prosecutors turning over 24 pages of evidence earlier this month that the defense hadn't seen.

Jones Brown and Lesousky told the judge that some of the 32 pages of documents had already been turned over to the defense, others were summaries of 911 calls that did not involve the Sheckles murder and mug shots of defendants who were not involved in the case. Some of the information, however, was new, including an interview with a woman who said she had information about the murder.

When Bisig asked why the interview had not been previously turned over to the defense, Jones Brown said she did not know but the information from the woman would only help prosecutors as the woman said she heard Dejuan Hammond was involved.

But Shouse said that kind of information is critical because it goes to their theory of the case – that prosecutors used sketchy witnesses who heard talk on the street or cut deals with prosecutors to provide information in order pin the crime on Dejuan Hammond.

Also, the documents included a letter sent to the Kentucky Attorney General’s office by an inmate who said he had information about the murder.

Lesousky said Louisville police were given the letter but did not follow up on it because it was not deemed credible.

Shouse responded that “Some of these crazy people they are calling as witnesses. Some of them they are not.”

And O’Connell said the defense should be able to follow up on the letter and have their own investigator talk to the inmate.

Other evidence was discussed with the judge in private, using white noise so people in the court could not hear. The judge wants to review the evidence before making a ruling.

The defense has claimed that former prosecutor Tom Van De Rostyne intentionally hid evidence. Van De Rostyne, who was fired in 2012  by current Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine, sat in the back of the courtroom on Tuesday.

Defense attorneys have subpoenaed Van De Rostyne but he wrote a letter to Bisig saying he was going to be out of town and that it would be improper for him to testify.

O’Connell told Bisig that Van De Rostyne can make an official motion to avoid testifying, but until then, his status as a subpoenaed witness is unchanged. Van De Rostyne has denied any wrongdoing.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office said the issue involving his subpoena does not involve them.

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