Derrick Hamilton, “wrongfully imprisoned” for 20 years, seeks new trial

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 Eyewitness to Murder States Hamilton Is Innocent; Prosecution’s Only Witness Says Police Forced Her to Implicate Hamilton and Testify Against Him; Misconduct by Brooklyn DA Alleged


Brooklyn, NY ( — Derrick Hamilton has been imprisoned for close to 20 years for the January 4, 1991 murder of Nathaniel Cash, despite convincing evidence from an eyewitness to the murder that Hamilton is innocent. Additionally, a highly decorated New Haven, Connecticut police officer, and other witnesses have provided evidence that Hamilton was in New Haven at the time of the murder and not in Brooklyn where the incident took place.

Hamilton says he was wrongfully prosecuted and convicted based solely on the testimony of Jewel Smith, a friend of the victim. Smith was the only prosecution witness in the case, which was handled by the Kings County District Attorney’s office, and her statements formed the basis of Hamilton’s conviction.

Smith told Detective Delouisa, the officer investigating the crime scene, that “…at 10:25 a.m. she went to the corner store and upon returning about 11 a.m. she discovered Mr. Cash dead outside the building.” After being brought to the station and interviewed by a Detective Scarcella, she changed her statement and implicated Derrick Hamilton.

“Once I was in the precinct, Detective Scarcella informed me that Derrick Hamilton shot Nathaniel Cash. And if I wanted to leave the precinct and go home, I had to identify Derrick as the person that committed the crime. The scenario was explained to me in detail by Detective Scarcella. I followed his script and true to his word I was released, after being forced to fabricate a statement implicating Derrick Hamilton as the Nathaniel Cash killer.”

Moments after the crime, according to police records, a call to 911, by female caller reported, “a male had been shot at 215 Monroe Street made and that three male blacks were fleeing in a red Pontiac Grand Am southbound on Nostrand Avenue.”

Another witness to the murder, Taseem Douglas, who was present at the scene, told the court, through post-trial testimony and a sworn affidavit, that he had witnessed the murder and that two other men, identified by others as well, Will and Yaya, murdered Nathaniel Cash. “From there I seen Yaya pull out his gun and he fired.”

Kelley Turner, a decorated New Haven, Connecticut police officer, has provided a sworn affidavit under oath that she be with Derrick Hamilton in Connecticut at the time of the murder of Cash in Brooklyn. “I first met Derrick Hamilton on the evening of January, 3, 1991 when I was introduced to him at a party I attended in the banquet room of the Quality Inn located at exit 59 of the Wilbur Cross Parkway in New Haven Connecticut. I made an appointment with Hamilton that evening to meet him at the hotel the following morning. On the morning of January 4, 1991, I picked up Hamilton at the hotel at between 11 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. and then drove to my office in New Haven arriving at 11:20 a.m. The meeting with Hamilton concluded at 12 noon at which time he was picked up by his brother and drove off.”

Others reliable witnesses have also come forth to provide sworn affidavits and, in some case, testify in post-conviction hearings. .Kim Freeman sent an affidavit to the court, stating, “[O]n Friday January 4, 1991, I was in New Haven, Connecticut with Derrick Hamilton. We went there on January 3…to attend a party. I stayed there with Derrick for the weekend…” Freeman would not testify because as she writes in her affidavit, Nate’s friends” had threatened her life. Darren Breeden submitted another affidavit in which he explains that he “was on Nostrand and Gates the same day of the shooting speaking to a person named Money Will who told me that he and a person named Yaya shot Nate after Nate slapped Yaya.”

Thomas Natale, a ballistics expert, informed the court that “two separate firearms fired the discharged shells…” Therefore, Natale’s testimony was in direct conflict with Smith’s testimony that she saw Cash shot by one person.

Despite reliable and undisputed facts showing that Hamilton is innocent, he remains in prison. His motion for a new trial has been before Kings County Second Judicial District Judge Raymond Guzman for two years. He is expected to rule soon.

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