It took Queens prosecutors four years to realize what Barry Hall and Pharaoh Ferguson always knew: They weren’t at the scene of a 2018 murder.
Ferguson, 49, and Hall, 52, walked out of Queens Supreme Court last week frustrated but vindicated after three years on Rikers Island and one year on house arrest with ankle monitors as they fought charges for the fatal shooting of a workout trainer sitting in a Mercedes SUV.
Advertisement Barry Hall, left, and Pharoah Ferguson are pictured in Queens Supreme Court after murder charges were dismissed against them.(Noah Goldberg/New York Daily News) Prosecutors with the Queens District Attorney’s Office finally moved to dismiss the case on Wednesday, citing “advancements in technology” at the NYPD that gave them access to new information on the men’s cellphones that was “not necessarily accessible” in 2018.
The information, prosecutors said, seemed to confirm Ferguson and Hall’s alibis that they were in Brooklyn at the time of the Jan.28., 2018 shooting of Sherwood Beverly in Ozone Park.Three other people in the SUV were wounded in the ambush.
Advertisement Advertisement The Queens DA declined to answer questions about the new technological advancements.
Cell site location data has been used as evidence in criminal investigations for years.A 2011 robbery case in Detroit involving cell site data resulted in a Supreme Court ruling in 2017.
The NYPD said it would not comment on the case.
The exonerated men insist there is nothing “new” proving their innocence.
“I’m happy to be free and to get my life back,” said Hall, who runs a youth football league.“But it’s an insult to our intelligence to say they didn’t have this technology in 2018.They had cellphone pings and towers for these last 15 or 20 years.”
[More New York] Rikers detainees got into locked cell, beat and slashed inmate, family says » “We stayed 36 months on Rikers Island,” Ferguson added.
“They knew since 2018 we were innocent.”
Ferguson said he was at home with his fiancée and her daughter at the time of the murder.While he told detectives that video surveillance from his apartment building would show him entering the building the night of the crime and not leaving until the following morning, cops never retrieved the footage, his attorney, Damien Brown, said.
Sherwood Beverly, pictured, was shot dead in an SUV in Ozone Park in 2018.
(Beverly Family/New York Daily News) Hall, meanwhile, returned to his home in Brooklyn after grabbing food from a White Castle around 4:20 a.m.— before the early morning shooting , he and his wife said.
[More New York] Man fatally shot in barrage of bullets near Brooklyn housing project » Both were accused of firing at the SUV.A criminal complaint did not explain an alleged motive.
The men plan to sue the city over the years spent behind bars, said Ferguson’s civil attorney Cary London.
“I don’t hang out in Queens, I do not do drugs, and I am not in a gang,” Ferguson told authorities when he was arrested, according to court papers.He previously served time in state prison in the 1990s for grand larceny and robbery.
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