Jason Spencer was killed in November 2017 at Cherokee Triangle

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A teen admitted he killed a man who was walking with his wife in the Highlands in November 2017, telling a Louisville Metro Police officer, “I’m glad I killed that motherf*****,” the officer testified in court Thursday.

At the time, Travon Curry, now 17, was in the hospital after being shot by the man he allegedly robbed and killed, Jason Spencer, as Spencer and his wife were walking on Everett Avenue near Cherokee Triangle on Nov. 3, 2017.

On Thursday, attorneys for Curry and his co-defendant, Thaddius Thomas Jr., asked a judge to throw out their statements to investigators, arguing Louisville Metro Police detectives did not properly follow the law when interrogating the juveniles. 

Officer Sean Verdi testified that Curry, who had been shot by Spencer as he was running from the scene, became combative and cursed officers and nursing staff when told his mother could not come in the hospital room and see him.

After saying he was glad he killed someone, Curry said, “and if I get out of here, I’m going to kill some other white motherf*****s,” Verdi testified. Curry is black.

Dr. Bill Smock, a forensic examiner, testified that Curry told him he had been shot after trying to rob someone. When Smock asked Curry who shot him, Curry responded, a “white fart,” Smock testified.

Both Curry and Thomas admitted to the crime, according to investigators. It had been unclear what the teens told police in their statements, as last year Louisville prosecutors ended a long-standing practice of filing evidence in criminal cases.

Yesterday's hearing included only a few snippets of what the defendants told police. 

But defense attorneys say their statements should be thrown out.

Curry was on fentanyl, a very powerful opioid, as well as other drugs at the time police spoke with him, his attorney, Karen Faulkner said, arguing he was in no mental or physical condition to voluntarily waive his constitutional right to remain silent.

And defense attorneys argue proper procedures weren’t followed when the juveniles were interrogated, such as getting permission from their parents.

Asked if he sought Curry’s mother's permission before interrogating him, Det. Mike Kim said it was “implied.”

Faulkner also pointed out he was suffering from a gun wound and at one point was handcuffed to his hospital bed.

Courtney Kellner, who represents Thomas, argued police did not follow proper procedures, including notifying a parent and fully explaining to the teen his rights.

A parade of officers testified that the teens themselves both gave permission to be interviewed and were of sound mind.

Both sides are going to submit additional briefs to Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens before he makes a decision.

Police arrested four teenagers in the murder and robbery of Spencer. 

One of the juveniles, Demond Malone, has already pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against his co-defendants.

Malone agreed to an 18-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to criminal facilitation to murder, criminal facilitation to first-degree robbery, first-degree wanton endangerment, possession of a firearm by a minor and receipt of stolen property over $500.

Malone, 16, will remain in custody at the Department of Juvenile Justice until he turns 18 -- at which point he will be re-sentenced.

The other juvenile has not yet been named.

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Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.