Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Darryl Austin



Second Degree Murder and Drug charge


18 years to life imprisonment

Years Imprisoned:


Year Crime:


Year Convicted:


Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:

New York

County or Region of Crime:


City of Crime:

New York City


Judicially Exonerated Posthumously - Died in prison

Summary of Case:

"Darryl Austin and Alvena Jennette were half-brothers and codefendants wrongly convicted in 1988 of a 1985 murder in Brooklyn, New York. Their convictions were based on inconsistent and contradictory testimony by police informant and drug user Teresa Gomez. Gomez was a witness in several cases investigated by NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella, the investigator in Jennette and Austin's case. After Jennette and Austin's convictions of second-degree murder by a jury, they were sentenced to 18 years to life in prison. Jennette filed a post-convction petition for a new trial based on new evidence that Scarcella had used false evidence, including suspect identifications by Gomez, to support the convictions of dozens of people. A reinvestigation of their case by the Brooklyn DA Office's Conviction Integrity Unit also discovered that the trial prosecutors failed to disclose to Jennette and Austin's trial lawyers there was an eyewitness who identified another person as the shooter. Jennette and Austin's convictions were vacated on May 6, 2014. Jennette had been released on parole in 2007, and Austin died in prison in 2000, so his exoneration was posthumous. Robert Hill -- a half-brother of Jennette and Austin -- was wrongly convicted in 1987 of the 1985 murder and robbery of a cab driver in Brooklyn, New York. Hill's conviction was also based on the eyewitness testimony of police informant and drug user Teresa Gomez, and the homicide detective was Scarcella. After Hill's conviction by a jury he was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison. Hill filed a post-convction petition for a new trial based on new evidence that Scarcella had used false evidence, including suspect identifications by Gomez, to support the convictions of dozens of people. Hill's conviction was vacated and the Brooklyn DA's motion to dismiss his charges was granted on May 6, 2014. Hill was released that day after 27 years in custody. After the three-half brothers convictions were overturned Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson issued a statement “It is clear that testimony from the same problematic witness undermined the integrity of these convictions, and resulted in an unfair trial for each of these defendants.” On January 12, 2015 it was reported that the three half-brothers would share in a $17 settlement of their federal civil rights lawsuit agianst New York City. Louise Austin will get $3.85 million on behalf of her son Austin's estate; Jennette will get $6 million; and Hill will get $7.15 million."

Conviction Caused By:

"Police misconduct by NYPD homicide detective, and perjurious testimony by the prosecution's "star" police informant eyewitness."

Innocence Proved By:

"Charges vacated and indictment dismissed on May 6, 2014."

Defendant Aided By:

Kings County Conviction Integrity Unit

Compensation Awarded:

"$3.85 million (New York City, January 2015)"

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:


Age When Released:





Information Source 1:

"Judge Voids Murder Convictions for 3 Half Brothers Linked to Brooklyn Detective, By Stephanie Clifford, The New York Times, MAY 6, 2014"

Information Location 1:


Information Source 2:

"Brooklyn brothers cleared, after one spent 3 decades in prison, in wrongful murder convictions, By Oren Yaniv (Staff writer), New York Daily News, May 6, 2014"

Information Location 2:


Information Source 3:

"Brooklyn brothers whose murder convictions were vacated to receive $17M from city, By Bill Hutchinson (Staff reporter), New York Daily News, January 12, 2015"

Information Location 3:


Information Source 4:

"Major Settlement as NYC Convictions Unravel, By Nick Divito, Courthouse News Service, January 12, 2015"

Information Location 4:


Information Source 5:

Information Location 5:

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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