Digging Deeper: Why did a judge release a man who admitted to murder on home incarceration?

LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- Outrage after a Jefferson County judge gives a suspect home incarceration after he confessed to police that he killed a man. That local judge said he didn't have enough information from police and had to make a judgment call.

It's something that hasn't happened in Jefferson County since the '80s, according to a retired judge who spoke with WHAS11 Friday. He called the decision a “bold move," but said each judge operates differently.

Judge Sean Delahanty took over arraignment court at Metro Corrections on August 1. Only a few days into the job he had Deandre Williams in front of the bench.

"He's 20-years-old, he's a low risk, he's charged with murder," Judge Delahanty said.

Those are the facts Delahanty said he had when he decided that Williams, who admitted to shooting and killing Robert Leachman, would be released on home incarceration.

“There are defenses to murder and without the facts, I cannot presume that there is some kind of evil intention and unjustifiable act," Delahanty said.

LMPD officers arrested Williams on Wednesday night and charged him with murder. According to an arrest citation, he admitted to intentionally shooting and killing Leachman earlier that day.

More than 24 hours later, people are still talking about the judge’s decision.

Speaking out on social media, one WHAS11 viewer said, "Well, I agree with this judge. I'm astonished the police didn't provide enough information to keep that guy in jail."

Another viewer disagreeing saying, "Judge Delahanty dropped the ball on this. I pray another life isn't lost."

When asked, the judge didn't want to further explain his decision off the bench, saying he made his point on the record.

He said, “police need to give us some better information about this."

WHAS11 asked a retired judge about the decision and he says it comes down to a probable case. Each judge defines probable cause individually.

The retired judge said Delahanty had to decide whether he had the information to hold the suspect based off of probable cause, and this case he decided it wasn't there.

As for the change in decision, the retired judge said that's unlikely. He said a judge's decision is final and while other judges could review it, ultimately no one has the power to change it.

There is still the possibility that police provide HIP officials with additional information that could lead to HIP deciding Williams will not be a candidate for their program.

As of Friday afternoon, he is still in custody.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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