Attorney: Derby night slaying suspect potential 'perpetrator' in - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Attorney: Derby night slaying suspect potential 'perpetrator' in another murder

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Fahed Abu-Diab (Source: Louisville Metro Corrections) Fahed Abu-Diab (Source: Louisville Metro Corrections)
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- A local attorney says a suspect in the Derby night slaying is also a possible "perpetrator" in an August murder of a 23-year-old, according to court records.

Fahed Abu-Diab, also known as Adam, and two other people – Tyrone Thomas Jr. and Fatima Abu-Diab – have been charged with the Derby night murder of Toronto resident Scott Hunter, 49. Abu-Diab was also involved in the February slaying of a Western High School student, although the incident was ruled justifiable by police and no charges were filed.

Louisville attorney Julie Kaelin wrote in court records last month that Abu-Diab is also a "potential alternate perpetrator" in a third death, the August shooting of 23-year-old Devonne King. Kaelin, who represents one of four men charged in King's murder, wants to use evidence from the other two Abu-Diab cases in the trial of her client. Abu-Diab is a key prosecution witness in the King murder case.

Kaelin has asked a judge to unseal the police investigation into the death of 18-year-old Western High Student Anthony Smith Jr. And she has complained that prosecutors in the King murder never turned over information about the Smith slaying and why it was ruled justifiable.

Smith's family has also called for police to release the investigation into Smith's death. Kaelin said in her April 22 motion that prosecutors have stated the records in the Smith homicide are sealed because "the investigation by the LMPD is ongoing" even though it was ruled justifiable.

"Continuing to hide documents related to how they (police) made that determination ... is a disservice to Smith's family, the public, and to my client -- who should have been told about the incident immediately, as we were when he was arrested this weekend," Kaelin wrote in an e-mail to WDRB. "How many people have to end up shot to death in Fahed Abu-Diab's vicinity before he gets arrested? Apparently the answer is three."

Lt. Todd Kessinger of the LMPD Homicide Unit said the investigation is not pending but hasn't been officially closed yet.

Kessinger turned over the sealed investigation to Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens last month, according to a video of a court hearing.

A hearing in front of Stevens has been set for May 15 as to whether police and prosecutors will have to unseal the Smith investigation and include it in the King case.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Cooke, a spokesperson for the office, said they will officially respond to Kaelin's motion to unseal the Smith investigation and include it in the current murder case on Thursday.

But Cooke said the office does not believe the investigation is relevant to the King murder and didn't need to be turned over to Kaelin or other defense attorneys.

"I'm not sure how it is relevant," he said.

Hunter was walking with a friend back to their hotel on Phillips Lane after the Derby when they were confronted and he was shot to death. Abu-Diab, Tyrone Thomas Jr. and Fatima Abu-Diab were are also charged with several counts of robbery, not related to Hunter's death.

They have pleaded not guilty.

In February Abu-Diab shot Smith not far from Western High. Police said there had been a three-on-two fight between a group of teens and Smith and his two classmates were shot. The 18-year-old died.

Louisville Metro Police said at the time that no charges would be filed in connection with his death, calling the incident, "justifiable homicide." Lt. Kessinger said at the time that Abu-Diab was in fear for his life and was acting in self-defense.

Smith's parents believe police and prosecutors didn't properly review the case.

"If they only would have took a little more time before they said it was justifiable, this wouldn't have happened to another person," said Elgina Smith, talking about the recent Derby day shooting.

Smith's family has told reporters they want officials to re-visit their son's case and investigate what really happened.

Kaelin wrote last month that Abu-Diab is the key witness against her client, Freddie Downer, in the February murder of King. Downer and three other men face murder charges in that case.

In the April 22 motion, Kaelin argued that Abu-Diab is a "known drug trafficker" and evidence in the King murder case shows he and King were "engaged in a criminal enterprise together." And Abu-Diab has written on social media that "he finds fault in himself for what happened" to King, according to Kaelin.

"In short, Mr. Abu-Diab is not just a witness, he is a potential alternate perpetrator," Kaelin wrote to Judge Stevens. Kaelin included several Facebook postings apparently made by Abu-Diab in recent months.

Kaelin also complained that prosecutors in the Downer case never turned over the investigation into the fatal shooting of Smith, who was cleared "by the very same agency (LMPD)" which is using him as a witness in the King murder.

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