A man who’s been instrumental in the unparalleled investigation into a discredited detective is about to become the next wrongfully convicted person to be cleared by the Brooklyn district attorney.
Derrick Hamilton, 49, who was paroled nearly three years ago after the Daily News exposed his story and whose fight to clear his name created a new legal precedent, will be exonerated of committing a 1991 murder.
“It’s finally over,” Hamilton, who had spent 20 in prison, said Saturday. “It feels like a million bricks off your back.”
He was found guilty of killing Nathaniel Cash in 1991, based on the testimony of one eyewitness – the victim’s girlfriend Jewel Smith, who recanted right after the trial.
The father-of-five, who back then had a criminal past, claimed he was in Connecticut during the Bedford-Stuyvesant homicide and that he was framed by former detective Louis Scarcella — making the first public allegation against the one-time celebrated homicide investigator.
Last year, Scarcella became the subject of a wide-ranging review by Brooklyn prosecutors and five homicide convictions he’d handled have been tossed so far.
A parole board released Hamilton in 2011, noting the News story. It was one of the first instances of a convict getting released while proclaiming innocence instead of expressing remorse.
But with some prosecutors still convinced he’s guilty, his legal fight went on.
Because numerous alibi witnesses were not on Hamilton trial’s witness list, judge after judge declined to hear from them during numerous appeals.