After spending more than two decades behind bars for crimes they did not commit, three half-brothers have won $17 million settlement from the city of New York. The three were convicted by the now discredited homicide detective Louis Scarcella, who was once part of the NYPD.
The massive sum of money comes eight months after the three were vindicated by a Brooklyn judge. The decision came following the substantial amount of probe presented by District Attorney Kenneth Thompson. The total sum for the settlement of Scarcella’s spurious cases reaches $23.5 million.
Nearly 70 of Scarcella’s murder convictions are currently under investigation by the District Attorney’s conviction review unit. The former Brooklyn North Homicide detective is now accused of witness persuasion, false confessions and of hiding exculpatory information.
The cases against the three half-brothers, Robert Hill, Alvena Jenette and Darryl Austin, were based on the testimony of a drug addicted sex worker, Teresa Gomez, who is now deceased. Another three different cases handled by Scarcella were also based on Gomez’s testimony. Gomez is now believed to have been increasingly erratic on her accounts and could not bring forth any plausible information.
Austin, the middle of the three, was wrongfully convicted for a crime back in 1995. Unfortunately, the exoneration came too late for him, as he died in prison 14 years ago, at age 37. The youngest brother, Jenette, who is now 50 years old, was on parole when the settlement came, after spending 21 years in prison. Robert Hill, 53, was released after 26 years behind bars when the exoneration came in. He had been convicted for a crime he did not commit, in 1987.
The mother of the three men will receive 3.85 million dollars of behalf of her deceased son, Darryl Austin. Jennette will receive $6 million and Hill $7.15 million in settlements.
On Friday, Derrick Hamilton, another one of Scarcella’s culprits, was exonerated, after serving 20 years in prison and making parole in 2011.
23 years ago, another individual was convicted by Scarcella, for the murder of a rabbi. It has now been demonstrated that the detective coerced a witness to pick the man with “the big nose”. David Ranta, the accused, was released in 2013. In February he won $6.4 million settlement.
Image Source: The Innocent Justice Foundation