Man Convicted Again for 1995 Murder After Retrial That Included Eyewitness Testimony


Wednesday, August 31, 2022


Man Convicted Again for 1995 Murder After Retrial
That Included Eyewitness Testimony

Original Conviction was Reversed Due to Involvement of Retired
Detectives Louis Scarcella and Stephen Chmil

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 45-year-old man has been convicted of murder for killing a man in 1995 during a botched robbery in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His original conviction was reversed, based on the involvement of retired Det. Louis Scarcella and Det. Stephen Chmil.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The guilty verdict handed down by a judge today, which correctly focused on the eyewitness identifications, validates the approach my Office has taken when reexamining cases involving Det. Scarcella: we ask to vacate when we find misconduct or violations of due process rights and stand by convictions when the evidence supports findings of guilt. In this case, compelling eyewitness accounts provided proof beyond reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt at both the original trial and again today.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Eliseo Deleon, 45, of Brooklyn. The defendant was convicted today of second-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a non-jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dena Douglas. The maximum sentence on the top count is 25 to life and sentencing was scheduled to September 14, 2022.

The District Attorney said that, according to the evidence, on June 4, 1995, near 164 Franklin Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Fausto Cordero was returning from a party to his vehicle, accompanied by his wife, his 7-year-old son and his niece. As they neared the car, the family was confronted by the defendant, who brandished a gun and demanded money. When Mr. Cordero pushed his wife out of harm’s way, the robber fatally shot him in the chest.

The victim’s wife positively identified the defendant as her husband’s killer. A woman who witnessed the incident from her stoop across the street was unable to identify him at the retrial due to the passage of time, but her prior positive in-court and photo array identifications were admitted as evidence.

Neither Det. Scarcella nor his partner, retired Det. Stephen Chmil testified at the original trial, and neither was called by the prosecution at the retrial. Both were called as witnesses by the defense during the retrial.

Justice Douglas overturned the 1996 guilty verdict against the defendant in November 2019 following a post-conviction hearing.

The case was prosecuted jointly by Senior Assistant District Attorney Viviane Dussek, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Morgan Dennehy, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Appeals Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Chow Yun Xie, Deputy Bureau Chief of the Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Leila Rosini, Homicide Bureau Chief.