A man who was convicted of killing a 32-year-old construction worker in St. Albans in 1994 testified this week that he was at home the night of the murder and that his lawyer never checked his alibi.
Samuel Brownridge, 28, eight years into a prison sentence of 25 years to life for the murder of Darryle Adams, took the stand Monday at a hearing held in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens to decide whether to retry his case.
Brownridge, who was living with his girlfriend in Queens Village, was convicted in 1995 of shooting Adams in the back of the head as he begged for his life at the corner of Mexico Street and Quencer Road in St. Albans about 9 p.m. on March 7, 1994.
But Brownridge and his family say he was home at the time of the shooting, and the jury that convicted him did not get to hear testimony on the alibi, Brownridge said Monday.
Brownridge, who was shot in October 1993, used to talk with his mother every evening, he testified.
"Ever since the incident my mom called to check up on me," he said, referring to his shooting in October 1993. "Every night she would call to make sure I was in the house."
Brownridge told his attorney that his girlfriend, her aunt, his mother and another person could vouch for his whereabouts, but the lawyer never followed up on the leads, he said.
"I figured it was a major thing," Brownridge said. "This was my alibi. He never mentioned it again."
The alibi information was not allowed to be included in Brownridge's trial because his lawyer failed to give notice it would be used, said Jason Russo, who is now representing Brownridge.
Brownridge said he learned more about the crime and who may have been there from a friend about 2000, one of the witnesses Russo may call when the hearing continues. Russo said he also plans to call the lawyer who represented Brownridge, his family and some of his friends who may have been at the shooting.
Brownridge seemed to grow combative during the lengthy cross-examination by prosecutor Richard Schaeffer. Schaeffer asked Brownridge to recall details about the day of the shooting, his arrest and his attempt to reopen his case, and in many cases, the defendant's reply was: "I don't remember."
Russo said his client was not deliberately being belligerent, but he was being asked about things that happened nine years ago before he spent that time in prison.
"When he says he doesn't remember something from 1994, he's being honest," Russo said. "I don't think he was fighting. I think he's bitter, as anyone would be."
Brownridge's family, who attended the hearing, agreed.
"We're not lawyers, so I can't say how he did, but he was telling the truth," his mother, Hattie Brownridge, said.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2003 Community News Group
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