NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A judge on Tuesday moved to throw out the decades-old murder convictions of three half brothers who were investigated by a New York City homicide detective whose tactics have come into question.
Alvena Jennette, Robert Hill and Darryl Austin are the first defendants connected to retired detective Louis Scarcella to have their convictions vacated.
“I’m so happy to be out,” Hill said in court Tuesday.
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson had asked the judge to vacate the convictions.
As 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis reported, the brothers’ lawyer, Pierre Sussman, credited Thompson and his staff “because it was their review that has led us to this particular day.”
The three brothers were convicted in separate fatal shootings in the 1980s on the word of a “discredited crack head” produced by Scarcella, said Sussman.
Austin died in prison 14 years ago.
Jennette was paroled in 2007 after having been incarcerated for 20 years. Hill was sentenced to 18 years to life and served 27 years in prison to date.
“I’m feeling great that everything is over with. I just thank God everyday,” Jenette said after hearing that his conviction had been overturned.
Thompson said his office was moving to vacate the convictions and dismiss the charges in the interest of justice.
“Based on a comprehensive review of these cases, it is clear that testimony from the same problematic witness undermined the integrity of these convictions, and resulted in an unfair trial for each of these defendants,” Thompson stated.
The district attorney’s decision to seek to void the convictions was first reported by The New York Times.
The dismissals were finalized in court before Judge Neil Firetog.
Hill, now 53-years-old, suffers from multiple sclerosis and will try to start a normal life, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.
“I want to go home with my family right now and take a bath,” he said as he left court.
A review of several murder cases investigated by Scarcella began last year after another man convicted of murder was released on new evidence that Scarcella had coached a witness. Since then, other convicts have renewed their allegations that Scarcella fabricated confessions and manipulated witnesses.
There was no immediate response to a message left with a lawyer for Scarcella. The former detective has denied any wrongdoing.
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