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Posted on: February 28, 2020

Freeport Man Convicted of 1998 Double Murder

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MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Freeport man was convicted today of a 1998 double murder outside of a Baldwin tavern.

John Pierotti, 65, was convicted by a jury of two counts of Murder in the First Degree (an A-I felony), Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (a C violent Felony) and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (a D violent felony).

The trial, before Judge Helene Gugerty, started on February 10 and the jury deliberated for approximately two days. The defendant was remanded pending sentence on April 29 and faces a potential maximum of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“The defendant ruthlessly shot two men at point-blank range outside a Baldwin bar in 1998,” DA Singas said. “The families of Gerard Kennedy and Willis Frost have shown tremendous resolve sitting through this retrial, nearly 20 years after John Pierotti was initially convicted for murdering their loved ones. I thank them for their patience during this ordeal and hope that today’s verdict finally brings them the closure that they deserve.”

DA Singas said that on December 23, 1998, the defendant fatally shot two men, 36-year-old Gerard Kennedy and 41-year-old Willis Frost, outside of the Dragger Inn in Baldwin.

The defendant arrived at the bar at approximately 1:00 a.m. that night, armed with a handgun and ammunition. The victims had left the bar and were sitting in a van parked nearby when the defendant knocked on the driver’s side window and got into a fight with the victims. The defendant first shot Frost in the chest at point-blank range, and then shot Kennedy in the left eye as he tried to run away.

Following an investigation, the defendant was arrested in February 1999 by Nassau County Police Department detectives.

The defendant was convicted of murder at trial in 2000, but two decades later, the defendant’s conviction was reversed by a federal appellate court due to claims that the defendant could not hear during his trial.

A retrial was ordered.

Senior Litigation Counsel Martin Meaney of DA Singas’ Major Offense Bureau and Senior Appellate Counsel Sarah Rabinowitz of the Appeals Bureau are prosecuting this case. Dana Grossblatt, Esq. represents the defendant.                                                       ###

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