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Man who spent 29 years in jail for murder gets conviction tossed

Man who spent 29 years in jail for murder gets conviction tossed

A man who spent 29 years behind bars for murder had his conviction overturned Friday — after the Brooklyn DA’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.

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.’’

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 — whose name was withheld in the report — strolled 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, although the cop had no other involvement in the case, according to the report.

The role of the now-scandal-scarred former detective “did not at all affect the integrity of the investigation, prosecution, or verdict,” the report states.

At least 15 suspects have had their convictions thrown out due to Scarcella’s crooked police investigations.

Then days after the “witness’s” visit to the precinct, he was busted for possessing “hundreds of vials of crack” but promised no more than six months in prison in exchange for his cooperation against Domond at the 1989 trial.

The 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 told the defense he was being held at the medical facility due to an AIDS diagnosis — but he was actually in the psychiatric ward.

While the witness’s medical records no longer exist, investigators concluded that he was likely hospitalized for “a very serious mental health condition,” The witness died in 2006.

Gerard Domond
Gerard Domond

Although the defense called 15 alibi witnesses who said 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.”

About the author


Evan Lewis

With a knack for storytelling, Evan started News Brig about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the Sports,, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

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