FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Bedford-Stuyvesant Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter for
2005 Cold Case Murder of His Girlfriend
Defendant Shot Victim Once in the Head;
Charges Filed Following Comprehensive Reinvestigation
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 37-year-old man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the 2005 cold case murder of his 22-year-old girlfriend, Desiree Cofield, who was shot in the head in the apartment the couple shared. The defendant was arrested following a lengthy and thorough reinvestigation of the case.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The violence this defendant inflicted claimed the life of a young woman and forever altered the lives of her two children who have grown up without a mother. It was important to me to create a Cold Case Unit to bring overdue answers to families like this, who now know what happened to their loved one and hopefully have a degree of closure that justice has been served.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Julius Esquilin, 37, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The defendant pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree manslaughter before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who promised the defendant a sentence of 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision when he is sentenced on April 8, 2020.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on February 19, 2005, at about 1 a.m., the defendant and his girlfriend, Desiree Cofield, 22, had a dispute outside 642 Greene Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which continued inside their apartment on the top floor of that building. A neighbor heard an argument, followed by a single gunshot and observed a blue light flash. The neighbor then heard the deceased’s daughter saying, “Mommy, Mommy,” according to the investigation.
A neighbor called 911 after the defendant banged on the door yelling, “I know you heard that; call the police.” The defendant also called 911 and, when police and EMTs arrived, acted aggressively.
The defendant screamed, broke picture frames and jumped on the victim’s body, according to the investigation. The police discovered the victim on a couch with a single gunshot wound to the head. Her 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old nephew were awake in the bedroom. The victim and the defendant also had a 2-month-old daughter together, who was not present when police arrived.
Police recovered a .380 caliber shell casing, a matching live round and a note signed by the defendant that said, “Even if I am gone, I still love all of my daughters and my big mouth baby mother, Julius.” No gun was recovered.
The defendant had a history of abusing the victim, according to neighbors, the victim’s relatives and prior police reports.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective William Simon of the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad, under the supervision of Lieutenant Dennis Klein. The District Attorney would also like to thank DNA Specialist Susan Horan of the District Attorney’s Forensic Science Unit for her work on the case.
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Samantha Magnani, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Batsidis, of the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture and Crimes Against Revenue Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Rachel Singer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Forensic Science and Cold Case Unit.