Attorney of murdered woman says she was terrified to testify in upcoming trial


Posted on August 15, 2009 at 6:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 13 at 1:57 PM

Previous Coverage:

(WHAS11) - The attorney of a woman murdered at a Louisville park says she was terrified about being ordered to testify in an upcoming murder trial.

Troya Sheckles was shot execution-style while she sat on a bench with her ex-boyfriend in Shelby Park Monday night.

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She backed out of a court appearance in January because her attorney says she was too afraid.

Then she was ordered by the court to agree to testify or go to jail.

February 9th was the last time Troya Sheckles appeared in a courtroom but it wasn't supposed to be.

Sheckles was what the court considers a "material witness," who could place a murder suspect at the scene of the crime.

She told police that she witnessed Lloyd Hammond and Terrell Cherry break into her home and kill her boyfriend William Sawyers.

Police say Hammond later shot Cherry.

Troya Sheckles identified Hammond as sawyer's killer after she saw him named on television as the suspect in another murder, that of Kerry Williams.

Two weeks after the other two men died, Sheckles called police and agreed to assist.

But when Hammond's original trial was set to begin in January, she didn't show up.

So a warrant was issued for her arrest after the commonwealth attorney called her an "indispensable witness".

And Hammond was re-indicted last month.

"She wanted to know if there was any way that this process could go on without here having to testify in court against Mr. Hammond," says Sheckles attorney, J. Clark Baird.

Even though Hammond had already been charged with killing another witness to Sawyer's murder, prosecutors had determined that she had to come forward or their case likely would have to be dropped and more of the Commonwealth's resources would be wasted.

Since Kentucky doesn't have a witness protection program, Sheckles was on her own from that point.

WHAS11 News has learned that police have interviewed the former boyfriend she was with in the park the night she was shot.

Family members say the man was Donteze Hurt. He has not beencharged or arrested in connection with this crime.

But we discovered Sheckles filed a protective order against him back in 1998 and then he filed one against her after he was released from prison last year.

J. Clark Baird tells WHAS11 News that he believes there should be some type of witness protection program in Kentucky, since he believes the current system puts witnesses at risk.