Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

50 murder convictions by Brooklyn detective called into question

Louis Scarcella

Until yesterday, Sundhe Moses was probably in about the middle of his prison sentence for the 1997 shooting death of a 4-year-old girl in Brooklyn, NY. He’s already served 18 years.

Yesterday Moses was set free.

Moses was released because he was arrested by Louis Scarcella, a Brooklyn detective whose 50 murder convictions are now being called into question. Investigators allege Scarcella coached, recycled and strong-armed witnesses to testify to get convictions. One of his frequent witnesses as allegedly a crack-addicted prostitute. He’s also accused of beating confessions out of suspects.

Sharron Ivory, a key witnesses in the case against Moses recanted his testimony, alleging that he didn’t recognize Moses but that Scarcella convinced him to name Moses as the man she saw at the scene of the murder. “I didn’t recognize anyone,” Ivory told The New York Times.

Moses was released yesterday after a parole board reviewed his 15-year-to-life sentence. “It was snowing, but it was like a great weight being lifted off my shoulders,” he told the Daily News about being released from prison. “I walked out and everything was new.”

Another of Scarcella’s wrongly-convicted cadre is David Ranta, who was released from prison in March after a judge ruled that he was wrongfully convicted of murdering a rabbi in 1990. Ranta spent 22 years incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit.

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