PROSPECT LEFFERTS GARDENS – The murder conviction of a man who was arrested 29 years ago has been overturned after an investigation found that the sole witness was held in a psychiatric ward and since this information was never disclosed to the defense. Defendant Gerard Domond was prejudiced unfairly, the Brooklyn district Attorney’s office said.
Somebody murdered Patrick Hinkson in March 1987. His body was dropped off at a hospital by a person who said he found him shot and killed in the parking lot at Club Love in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. According to the Brooklyn DA’s office, “That witness provided the victim’s name and address, disappeared before police arrived and was never heard from again. No crime scene was ever established, and no forensic evidence was found.”
Three days after the murder, a person identified in documents only as FP walked into the 77th Preicicnt and described the shooting, which he claimed stemmed from an argument over drug money. “FP had open narcotics and robbery cases and by the 1989 trial, he had been incarcerated for several months in Kings County Hospital (KCH) for what the prosecutor claimed was an AIDS diagnosis,” the DA’s office said.
During the trial, “[t]he defense called several alibi witnesses, who claimed the defendant [Gerard Domond] was in Georgia at the time of the murder, but some had failed to identify him in earlier interviews or had provided inconsistent dates for his return. The defendant was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life.”
When the Brooklyn DA’s Conviction Review Unit was reviewing the documents on file, they found that FP was being held pre-trial in the Psychiatric Forensic Unit in Kings County Hospital. He had most likely suffered from “a very serious mental health condition.”
FP died in jail in 2006, and his hospital records no longer exist. In 2016, Gerard Domond was paroled after spending 29 years in prison.
According to the Conviction Review Unit, “the prosecutor should have known of FP’s mental condition and by withholding that information, the defendant was prejudiced and not afforded a fair trial.”
“Vacating Mr. Domond’s conviction highlights the fact that even in cases that are very old and difficult to investigate, our Conviction Review Unit will do all it can to correct miscarriages of justice,” Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said. “This investigation revealed that crucial information about the mental state of the only eyewitness was kept from the jury and from the accused, depriving him of a fair trial. I will not stand by a conviction that was obtained unfairly.”
Domond’s conviction is the 29th that has been vacated since 2014 because of the Conviction Review Unit’s work since 2014.