Brooklyn man found guilty of 1995 murder a second time two years after first conviction was tossed

brooklyn DA eric gonzalez 1995 murder case
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced that a Brooklyn man has been found guilty of murder a second time, two years after his first conviction was tossed out.
File photo by Paul Frangipane

A 45-year-old Brooklyn man has been once again convicted of the 1995 murder of a Bedford-Stuyvesant man three years after his first guilty verdict was overturned in a case prosecuted by the Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s Office. 

Eliseo Deleon was convicted of second-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon on Aug. 31 for a botched robbery on June 4, 1995, that left a father and husband dead on the street. 

The victim, Fausto Cordero, was returning to his vehicle on Franklin Avenue from a party with his wife, 7-year-old son and niece when Deleon approached them as they neared their car, wielding a gun and demanding money, according to the DA’s office. Cordero reportedly pushed his wife out of the way and Deleon shot him in the chest, killing him. 

The 1996 guilty verdict was overturned in 2019 by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Dena Douglas due to police misconduct after Deleon accused two of the New York City Police Department officers, retired Detective Louis Scarcella and Detective Stephen Chmil, of fabricating his confession. The duo have been connected to dozens of tainted cases and confessions, but Gonzalez said at the time that a conviction should remain when there is evidence proving the defendant is guilty.

“The guilty verdict handed down by a judge today, which correctly focused on the eyewitness identifications, validates the approach my office has taken when re-examining 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,” Gonzalez said. “In this case, compelling eyewitness accounts provided proof beyond reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt at both the original trial and again today.”

There were two eyewitness reports from when the crime occurred; the victim’s wife positively identified Deleon as the gunman and a woman who witnessed the shooting from across the street provided in-person testimony and identified the defendant in an array of photos, but later in the 2019 retrial was unable to identify the victim because so much time had passed. 

Neither of the detectives were asked to testify by the prosecution during the retrial but were both called on as witnesses for the defense. 

Deleon’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 14, and he faces up 25 years to life in prison. He was in prison for 24 years following his initial conviction before the decision was overturned.