BROOKLYN, N.Y. — For more than 30 years, James Jenkins has been in prison on a murder conviction, but he insists he’s an innocent man.
Jenkins was convicted in a case worked by retired NYPD Det. Louis Scarcella. Scarcella’s investigative tactics have come into question after 15 people he helped convict were exonerated.
A court hearing underway in Brooklyn could help Jenkins clear his name.
Jenkins was convicted in the 1986 murder of Jamie Prieto. Prieto was gunned down in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn — the unintended target of a shooting. Scarcella arrested Jenkins weeks later.
Although Jenkins maintained his innocence, during the trial he was identified as the shooter and found guilty.
His cousin, Brenda Jenkins, told PIX11 News she had hoped he would have been exonerated by now.
“My cousin was very young, and he was a child, just about when this took place. So, I did not expect for it to go on as long as it has,” she said.
A Brooklyn judge recently granted a new hearing to take another look at Jenkins’ conviction.
The first witness called to testify was Jose Danny Collado. He was a friend of Prieto and was there the night of the murder. In court, Collado said the only reason why he named Jenkins as the shooter was because Scarcella pressured him to do so.
“I basically told them what they wanted to hear,” Collado said on the witness stand.
Scarcella was expected to testify at the hearing in the coming weeks.
PIX11 News reached out to Scarcella’s attorney for a response to Collado’s testimony but had not heard back, as of this story’s publishing.