Accused witness murderer's second trial begins


by Adam Walser

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 8 at 6:29 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky -- The second trial for Steven Pettway got underway Wednesday, less than seven months after a judge granted a mistrial in the original case.

Pettway is accused of murdering Troya Sheckles in March 2009, just days before Sheckles was supposed to testify against Lloyd Hammond, who was charged with murdering Sheckle's boyfriend, William Sawyers, in 2006.

Prosecutors say Pettway shot Sheckles in Shelby Park at the urging of his friend Dejuan Hammond, Lloyd Hammond's brother.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Lesousky says the murder was to prevent Sheckles' testimony.

"She sees a man dressed in black with a bandana running towards her with a gun. she attempts to flee, but is shot four times," said Lesousky in opening statements.

He said multiple witnesses and other evidence places Pettway at the scene.

But his attorney, Leslie Smith, said nobody got a good luck at the shooting.

She says it couldn't have been Pettway, who was only 16 years old at the time.

"It was an execution with a message. It was committed by professionals because it took practice, it took skills," Smith said.

Several police officers testified about their initial investigation today, including detectives and crime scene investigators.

A mistrial was declared in Pettway's first trial in October, when a judge ruled that prosecutors wrongly withheld hundreds of recorded jail phone calls from the defense until the eve of the trial.

Defense attorneys argued the tapes include witness statements that other suspects committed the murder.