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Trial date set for accused in 2021 shooting death at JCPS bus stop

The interior of a courtroom during a hearing in the Tyree Smith murder case.
Jacob Ryan
The two boys accused of killing two other teenagers at a pretrial conference in January 2022.

Two 17-year-olds will be tried as adults in April 2024 for the alleged murders of Tyree Smith and Cortez Duncan.

A Louisville judge has set a trial date next year for two teenagers accused of murdering Eastern High School student Tyree Smith at his bus stop in 2021.

Mekhi Cable and Demaurion Moore, both 17, will stand trial as adults for the alleged murder of Smith and a second alleged murder of 15-year-old Cortez Duncan months later. They’re also accused of attempting to murder a third teen. Prosecutors say the third teen, identified only with initials in court documents, was the intended target in the bus stop shooting that killed Smith.

Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tracy Davis set the trial for April 16, 2024.

Smith’s mother, Sherita Smith, said she’s glad there’s finally a trial date, even if it's more than a year away.

“I’m very happy that we can move forward and, you know, hopefully justice will be served for our kids,” she told LPM News.

“I miss my son. I love my son. He didn’t deserve this — so ready to see what the outcome is,” Duncan’s mom Alisha Taylor said.

Because Jefferson County no longer has a juvenile detention facility, both defendants are being held in centers hours away. The distance is limiting their time with counsel, and attorneys for both sides say that’s gumming up the justice process, along with staffing shortages at the Adair County facility where Moore is being held.

“The staffing shortages that they have had there throughout the past year, even going back further, have made it more difficult for me to communicate with my client, for him to review discovery and for him to be properly prepared to go to trial,” Moore’s attorney Michael Ferraraccio told LPM News.

For example, Ferraraccio told the judge, he tried to set up a time to meet with Moore three weeks ago, but the facility told him they weren’t able to accommodate the visit because of staffing shortages.

Commonwealth prosecutor Ryane Conroy said another issue is that the facilities lack the technology Moore and Cable need to review evidence with their attorneys.

Lawyers say this case has more evidence to parse than any case they’ve encountered, and much of it is in a digital format.

“The mothers of Tyree and Cortez should not suffer because the juvenile facilities do not have a way for them to review the discovery,” Conroy said. “They [Moore and Cable] are entitled to do that and know what the discovery is in their cases, but we’re also entitled to proceed.”

State lawmakers passed House Bill 3 this session, which puts $13.2 million towards bringing a juvenile detention center back to Jefferson County.

Support for this story was provided in part by the Jewish Heritage Fund.

News JCPSLouisvilleYouth Reporting
Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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