LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Louisville man sentenced to 55 years for his role in the murder of a murder trial witness asked to be released from prison Wednesday after serving less than a year behind bars.
A Jefferson County circuit judge made a ruling on whether or not to grant Steven Pettway shock probation.
“I do find that the consequences are appropriate in this case and it would not be appropriate to grant a motion for shock probation,” Judge Angela McCormick Bisig said.
Pettway was convicted in 2013 of killing Troya Sheckles in Shelby Park in Louisville in 2009. Another man, Dejuan Hammond, is accused of helping Pettway and is awaiting trial in connection with the murder.
Police said they two men shot Sheckles because she was set to testify against Dejuan Hammond's brother, Lloyd Hammond. Lloyd was convicted in those murders, but those convictions were later overturned. Lloyd Hammond was convicted on manslaughter charges in February and sentenced to 10 years. He was released from prison days after the manslaughter convictions because he had already served seven and a half years.
But Pettway still says he did not kill Sheckles.
“I’m not here to retry the case today,” Leslie Smith, Pettway's attorney, said. “I will leave it at that, when I say he maintains his innocence.”
Because Pettway was a juvenile when he killed Sheckles, he is eligible for probation and that's why he was back in court.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Elizabeth Jones-Brown reminded the court that Pettway deliberately killed Sheckles to keep her from testifying in another murder case.
Judge Angela McCormick Bisig said she agreed - the crime was too serious to allow Pettway out of prison on shock probation.
“Certainly your age is a consideration,” Bisig said. “But in this community that individual had been sworn to reappear in a criminal case. And through no choice of her own, she was compelled by the court system to present herself and give testimony. And shortly thereafter she was shot in the back.”
Pettway will serve out the rest of his 55 year sentence in prison.