LMPD Police Chief reacts to judge's decision to release suspect - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LMPD Police Chief reacts to judge's decision to release suspect on HIP hours after murder

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A man charged with murder was released on home incarceration Thursday morning, and LMPD Police Chief Steve Conrad has expressed his displeasure with the decision. 

The following statement attributed to Chief Conrad was posted on the LMPD Facebook page a few hours after the judge's decision:

Yesterday, Deandre Williams was arrested and charged with murder by LMPD’s Homicide Unit for the fatal shooting that occurred in the 1200 Block of Brashear Court in the Parkhill neighborhood. This arrest was made after Mr. Williams provided investigators with a complete, mirandized statement admitting his intentional involvement with this shooting.

We are astonished and incredibly disappointed today, at the court’s decision to release this man from jail, less than 24 hours after having been taken into custody and charged with the intentional shooting and killing of Robert Leachman. There is little doubt that our frustration with this decision pales in comparison to the outrage that is being felt by the family and loved ones of the victim in this case. This decision will not dissuade the men and women of LMPD from our continued commitment to vigorously pursuing justice for the victim of this, or any other crime.” LMPD Police Chief Steve Conrad

-Chief Steve Conrad#LMPD #transparency

Williams, age 20, is charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Robert Leachman in the Algonquin neighborhood Wednesday afternoon after police say he admitted to "intentionally shooting" the victim, according to the arrest report. 

It happened just before 1 p.m. in the 1200 block of Brashear Court near the intersection of South 13th Street and West Hill Street outside the Parkway Place housing complex. Leachman's murder was the sixth homicide at the housing complex this year.

Williams was arrested later Wednesday and charged with Leachman's murder.

During his court appearance Thursday morning, Jefferson County District Judge Sean Delahanty allowed Williams to be released on home incarceration, after a brief back-and-forth with Assistant County Attorney Cristin Southard.

After attorney Julie Kaelin requested home incarceration on behalf of Williams -- stressing that he was "low risk" and had a construction job -- Judge Delahanty expressed frustration on what he considered the lack of detail on Williams' arrest report.

"I have absolutely no information about this case other than someone was killed," Judge Delahanty said.

Williams' attorney spoke up in his favor.

"Your honor, Mr. Williams does not have any prior criminal history," Kaelin said. "We understand the charge – however that's just one factor for the court to consider. I am aware that Mr. Williams is employed in a construction job. He actually just recently began that job in speaking with his mother, so we would request home incarceration with work release."

[RAW VIDEO: JUDGE GRANTS HIP TO SUSPECT HOURS AFTER MURDER]

But Southard was quick to argue against home incarceration.

"Your honor, at this point in time it's one count of murder," she said. "The county's position is that the defendant presents a danger to the community. Certainly in the citation -- while it may be a little short on verbiage, it certainly indicates that he has made a statement to intentionally shooting and killing somebody. We know who the victim is. This is obviously a very serious crime. The county's position is that the $100,000 full cash bond is appropriate and that HIP with releases would not be appropriate at this time."

But Judge Delahanty again blasted police for the lack of detail in the arrest citation. 

"The problem is I don’t even know the location of the shooting…" he said.

He then turned to Kaelin, Williams' attorney.

"Where would he live?" the judge asked.

"Your honor, he would continue living with his mother," Kaelin replied.

"I don't think that would be a good idea. That sort of disqualifies him right away," the judge said.

Southard spoke up.

"The county’s position, your honor, is that this is a murder charge and that HIP is inappropriate, no matter where…

"I understand that," the judge said. 

Kaelin said Williams could live with his father in Shively.

"I'm gonna put him on HIP," Judge Delahanty said. "He's not going to live anywhere close to, within five miles of Moore Court. Again, I appreciate your comments Ms. Southard.

"There's a lot of reasons why…with what little information I have, the information I do have is that he’s at low risk to fail to appear, he is a low risk to re-offend. I have no idea – if I had better facts, I might be able to make some decision to work in your favor."

"So judge, just to be clear, if you had better facts than, after being mirandized, he has admitted to intentionally shooting and killing somebody...?" Southard asked.

"Can I tell you something?" the judge said. "Part of it is, there are defenses to murder, Ms. Southard. There are defenses to murder. And without the facts, I cannot presume that this was some kind of evil intention and unjustifiable act."

"There is a presumption of innocence, fundamental to American society," Delahanty continued. "He is presumed to be innocent. Even though he has confessed to shooting him, there are defenses. Perhaps this death occurred in self defense. I have no idea. And I really have no information to draw some sort of negative inference. So I guess what we need to do, Ms. Southard, is police have to give us some better information about this."

Delahanty granted the home incarceration request a short time later -- with no work release.

Shortly after the decision, Kaelin, Williams' attorney said she agreed with the judge's decision.

"Mr. Williams has absolutely no criminal history, and is a lifelong member of this community," Kaelin said, in a statement. "Bond is meant to ensure a person's return to court and prevent further crimes. When a person has zero criminal history, that's a pretty good indicator that they'll continue to stay out of trouble. We can't keep throwing people in jail before they're found guilty, especially when everything else in their history indicates they are neither dangerous, nor a flight risk. To do so disintegrates the presumption of innocence and ignores well researched best practices. Not to mention that it costs Kentucky a ton of money we don't have and encourages inhumane jail conditions due to overcrowding. The right decision was made here."

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the LMPD crime tip line at 574-LMPD (574-5673). All calls are anonymous.

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