Judge unseals criminal cases of teens charged with murdering man in Cherokee Triangle
On Monday, the Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office asked Stevens to open the case back up to the public, using many of the same arguments media attorneys have had success with in opening court hearings or documents for the public.
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – When a Louisville judge last month sealed the criminal cases of two teens charged with killing a man in the Highlands in November, he apparently did so without either prosecutors or defense attorneys requesting the highly unusual action.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens sealed the entire case files of Travon Curry and Thaddius Thomas Jr. on Feb. 19, including the indictments, court motions, scheduled hearing dates and even the identifying case numbers. As per his order, the public would have no idea if and when a trial is scheduled or if the two men decide to plead guilty or charges are dismissed.
On Monday, the Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office presented a motion to Stevens to unseal the case, using many of the same arguments media attorneys have had success with in opening court hearings or documents for the public.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Emily Lantz argued in the motion that Stevens did not hold a hearing about sealing the case or make any findings as to why the entire case should be hidden from the public. In addition, the motion noted that the victim's family would be unable to attend court hearings because of Stevens' order.
During a short hearing Monday, Stevens told Lantz he had already unsealed the case – on the same day prosecutors filed the motion – so the argument was moot.
It is still unclear why Stevens sealed the case in the first place. He does not talk with the media. It is also not known if Stevens opened the case because of the motion by prosecutors or on his own.
While Curry and Thomas Jr., are juveniles, both 16, they were charged as adults with robbery and murder in the death of 30-year-old Jason Spencer. They were arraigned in open court before the case was sealed.
Police arrested four teenagers, but only Curry and Thomas are currently charged as adults.
Spencer was shot as he was walking with his wife on Everett Avenue near Cherokee Triangle on Nov. 3, 2017. He died at the scene.
The records in the case indicate that Curry and one of the juveniles shot at Spencer while robbing him. Spencer returned gunfire before he died, hitting one of the juveniles in the legs, according to the records.
The defendants confessed to stealing a vehicle and planning a robbery, according to the records.
One of the juveniles said he “hasn’t been the same since his father was murdered in 2014,” according to the records.
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