“The motion to vacate the indictment and conviction is granted’’
rooklyn judge tossed the murder conviction of man who spent 29 years behind bars after prosecutors admit they have no case, withheld evidence
Announcement will reverse the conviction of Gerard Domond Domond was released on parole in 2016, more than three decades after he was convicted of murder
He was jailed in 1987 for the shooting murder of a man named Patrick Hinkson outside a club in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
There was no crime-scene or forensic evidence tying Domond to the killing
The conviction was based on a single eyewitness who had been held in a psychiatric ward for months before testifying as part of a cooperation agreement, re-opened investigations just revealed
A man who spent 29 years behind bars for murder had his conviction overturned Friday, after the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office admitted a prosecutor withheld key information from his defense.
“I want to thank my mother for standing behind me,” cleared con Gerard Domond, who has been out on parole since 2016, told a judge Friday.
“She stood by me all these years. I’m just happy to be home with my family. It was a long journey,” Domond added matter-of-factly as his mom, Marie Pyrol, looked on from the gallery.
In the end Gerard Domond’s record was cleared after prosecutors asked Justice Matthew D’Emic to toss his conviction because they found their only eyewitness had a “serious mental health condition” that was never disclosed to defense attorneys
The announcement will reverse the conviction of Gerard Domond, who was released on parole in 2016, more than three decades after he was convicted of the 1987 shooting murder of a man named Patrick Hinkson outside a New York club, according to the DA.
Domond went on trial in 1989 for the slaying of Patrick Hinkson based on a single eyewitness who had been held in a psychiatric ward for months before testifying as part of a cooperation agreement, according to an investigation by the DA’s Conviction Review Unit.
Brooklyn prosecutors at the time did not disclose to the defense the unnamed witness’s psychiatric hospitalization, according to the report.
The DA’s office asked for Domond’s conviction to be overturned based on the unit’s finding.
Domond’s mom and other family members, along with DA Eric Gonzalez, watched from the gallery as Justice Matthew D’Emic said, “The motion to vacate the indictment and conviction is granted.’’
Eric Gonzalez was not DA at the time the withholding of evidence occurred.
The case had begun in March 1987 when a man dropped off a mortally wounded Hinkson at a hospital and said the victim had been shot in the parking lot of Club Love in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.
The man provided Hinkson’s name and address and vanished.
Hinkson, who had been shot in the head, eventually succumbed to his injuries.
There was no crime-scene or forensic evidence tying Domond to the slaying.
But three days after the murder, the soon-to-be cooperating witness, known only as FP in the report, walked into the 77th Precinct and told cops he had worked for Domond’s alleged crack-dealing business and saw him shoot Hinkson over a drug-money dispute.
A few hours earlier, the witness said, he had gotten into a fight with Domond after he caught him with his girlfriend, and they had pulled their guns on each other.
Then-NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella arrested Domond and drove him to a lineup. However, the former detective whose record is now blighted by scandal had no other involvement in the case, according to the report.
The role of Scarcella “did not at all affect the integrity of the investigation, prosecution, or verdict,” the report states.
Days after the voluntary “witness” visited to the precinct, he was busted for possessing “hundreds of vials of crack”, but was promised no more than six months in prison in exchange for his cooperation against Domond at the 1989 trial.
The same witness also had another open case against him in which he was charged with one count of first-degree robbery and two counts of first-degree burglary.
Prosecutors promised the witness that he would not have to serve additional jail time for the robbery case if he testified against Domond — although this assurance was not in the written cooperation agreement or revealed to the jury, the DA’s report states.
The witness was released from Kings County Hospital about a week before he testified at the trial.
Prosecutors lied to the defense that their star witness was being held at the medical facility due to an AIDS diagnosis.
Prosecutor Paul Maggiotto, instead told jurors at the trial that FP was being housed in the hospital because of an AIDS diagnosis, though there is no evidence that the witness had AIDS. Infact, he was actually in the psychiatric ward.
This witness died in 2006 and while his medical records no longer exist, investigators concluded that he was likely hospitalized for “a very serious mental health condition,”
Despite the defense calling 15 alibi witnesses who testified that Gerard Domond was in Georgia at the time of the shooting, the jury found him guilty of second-degree murder, and he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Domond’s conviction was the 29th overturned since 2014 on the recommendation of the DA’s Conviction Review Unit.
“After more than three decades of being branded a convicted murderer, Gerard Domond finally goes home to his family as a truly free man,’’ his lawyer, Ron Kuby, said Friday.
“His mother’s greatest fear was that she would not live to see this day. It was joyful beyond words to see her there in the courtroom when the charges were dismissed.”
Maggiotto is now in private practice in Concord, N.H.
It is noteworthy that at least 15 suspects have had their convictions thrown out due to Louis Scarcella. The former NY cop’s tactics and coerced confessions from suspects have resulted in many of the CRU’s overturned convictions. Scarcella’s crooked methods forced these victims to spend decades behind bars on trumped up police investigations.