Jurors acquitted Lavonrence Perkins on March 18 of the 2010 murder of Cordell McAfee.
Perkins, 23, was accused of shooting 22-year-old McAfee while he was sitting on a relative’s porch on Roseland Street in May 2010. McAfee was struck twice and died of his injuries.
This was Perkins’ second trial for the murder. A previous jury deadlocked on the charges in 2012.
Adam Simkins, 25, was with Perkins and faces a separate charge of first-degree murder, according to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.
Attorneys in the murder trial of Perkins used their final statements Monday to debate the reliability of a 14-year-old girl who was the state’s key witness in the case.
The girl, now 18, identified Perkins as one of two men she saw running with a gun near the scene, around the time McAfee was shot.
James Sultan, Perkins’ attorney, said the girl did not identify Perkins until she saw his picture for a third time in a photo array. He also said she had misidentified another man whose picture was included as filler in the line-up.
“You can’t depend on her, you can’t rely on her,” he told jurors.
Sultan said the girl has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and flunked out of school twice. She was playing on her porch with her niece on the afternoon of the murder, he said. He suggested she was not paying close attention to the people she saw run by her house.
“We’re here because a 14-year-old girl who was outside on her porch when shots rang out and two men ran by made a mistake,” Sultan said.
Prosecutor Mark Lee said the girl was confident and focused when she testified during Perkins’ trial, and there is no reason to believe she misidentified him as a suspect four years ago.
“Mr. Sultan came in here and he craps all over her: ADHD, rotten student, failed repeatedly,” Lee said.
The attorneys also clashed over forensic evidence in the case.
Authorities testified Perkins’ DNA was not found on the two hooded sweatshirts believed to be worn by the shooters, and that they did not find any gunshot residue on his hands after the killing.
Simkin’s DNA was found on one of the sweatshirts. DNA on the other sweatshirt belonged to another individual who was at Simkins’ apartment the day of the murder.
Sultan further suggested that detectives did not adequately explore alternate theories in their initial investigation into McAfee’s death. McAfee was a known gang member who had previously testified as a state witness in a murder trial.
The jurors took less than a full day deliberating on the week-and-a-half long trial before finding Perkins innocent.