A Brooklyn man who was retried and found guilty in a 1995 murder case involving notorious NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella was sentenced to 20 years to life on Thursday — but his defense lawyer expects he’s already served enough time to be on parole before Thanksgiving.
Elisio DeLeon, 45, who was found guilty of murder, robbery and weapon possession after a July a bench trial, learned of his fate in Brooklyn Supreme Court Thursday.
Justice Dena Douglas, the same judge who overturned DeLeon’s original conviction citing shady tactics by Scarcella and partner Stephen Chmil, issued the guilty verdict on Aug. 31.
As his fiance, brother, sister and friend watched nervously Thursday, DeLeon thanked the court for the opportunity to “prove my innocence” a second time, and said, “I don’t wish to go through this again. I just want to get this over with and just get along with my life.”
According to cops, Brooklyn victim Fausto Cordero was killed in Bedford Stuyvesant during a robbery gone wrong in 1995, as his wife watched.
DeLeon served 24 years behind bars for the killing, based on witness testimony and a confession he claimed he never made, before his initial release from prison on Nov. 11, 2019.
Douglas vacated DeLeon’s initial conviction because of Scarcella and Chmil’s pattern of misconduct — which has led to 17 other overturned guilty verdicts.
The Brooklyn D.A.’s office first tried to appeal the ruling, believing DeLeon did the crime. Prosecutors pressed for a second trial, where Cordero’s wife and a second witness took the stand again to identify DeLeon as the killer.
Scarcella and Chmil, who did not appear at his first trial, were called to testify by the defense at the retrial, though they both contended that their involvement in the case was tangential at best.
DeLeon’s lawyer, Cary London, said his client suffered a panic attack that turned into a heart attack the night after the new verdict.
London assured DeLeon’s family that DeLeon’s release to parole could be imminent, since he’s already served more than three years beyond the 20-year minimum, and has established a new life on the outside.
“She (the judge) was trying to release him from the courtroom, but parole wouldn’t let her,” he explained to the family.
Outside the courtroom, London said he wasn’t happy with the guilty verdict, but he added, “I think the sentence is fair. I think the judge did what was right.... I’m hopeful he will be out very shortly. Whether it’s tomorrow, or a month from now, or eight weeks from now. He will not be in come Thanksgiving.”