Man found guilty of killing Farmingdale woman in 2002 has conviction overturned

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A man who has served over 17 years in prison after being found guilty of killing a Farmingdale woman in 2002 has had his conviction overturned by a federal court.

The justices threw out the murder conviction, saying Paul Scrimo's constitutional rights were violated during his trial in May 2002.

Scrimo has challenged his conviction for years. In his latest challenge, Scrimo's attorney Randall Unger argued that three key defense witnesses were not allowed to testify at trial.

In the decision, the justices agreed writing, "We conclude that the trial court's exclusion of three defense witnesses violated Scrimo's constitutional right to present a complete defense. Accordingly, we reverse and remand the judgment of the district court."

The judges also noted DNA under the victim's fingernails belonged to another man.

Scrimo was convicted in the killing of floral designer Ruth Williams, who was strangled in her Farmingdale apartment in April 2000.

Unger says the conviction was based on testimony of a sole witness, who claimed Scrimo killed Williams because she had called his wife "fat and ugly."

Williams' brother tells News 12 the appeals court judges were wrong to overturn Scrimo's conviction, calling it a bitter disappointment.

Scrimo won't be released from prison until prosecutors decide whether to seek a retrial. A spokesperson for Nassau Districy Attorney Madeline Singas says her office is reviewing the decision but has not decided whether to retry the case.

Scrimo was serving 25 years to life in prison when the appeals court decided to toss out the conviction.

 

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