Aug. 24, 2023 By Zachary Gewelb & Bill Parry
A Brooklyn man was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after he was convicted in Queens Supreme Court for the cold case killing of a 31-year-old man who was found naked and bludgeoned in his Ridgewood home in 2011, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced on Aug. 24.
Gerald Griffin, 46, of Sutter Avenue, was previously convicted by a jury on May 17 of murder in the second degree, burglary in the first degree, robbery in the first and second degrees, intimidating a witness in the third degree, attempted tampering with physical evidence, criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
According to the charges and trial testimony, on the evening of Sept. 14, 2011, Peter Polizzi was found by his brother inside his apartment at 57-06 Clover Pl. in Ridgewood. He was found underneath a couch, naked and badly beaten. Polizzi died three days later. Officers from the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood responded to the location to find that the apartment had been ransacked and various items were missing. Officers recovered a used wine glass and a bloody baseball bat from inside the apartment. Meanwhile, detectives obtained information from a family friend who claimed to see two men leaving the location at approximately 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 14, with one wearing a T-shirt that read, “Irving Scrap Metal.”
The NYPD’s Cold Case Squad received the case in 2015 and, after combing through Polizzi’s phone records, they found a woman who revealed she was inside the apartment at the time of the murder. The woman said she had been taken to the address by Griffin — who allegedly was her pimp at the time — and another man. Griffin attacked Polizzi with a baseball bat and the other man beat him, according to the charges.
After the attack, the men ransacked the apartment and snatched a pair of cell phones, money, a watch with a diamond-encrusted face and a box containing a white powdery substance. DNA taken from the wine glass matched the woman’s DNA profile. In 2017, she identified Griffin in a photograph as the perpetrator with the bat. Griffin’s Facebook account included a photograph of him wearing the stolen watch. Additionally, business records from Irving Scrap Metal identified Griffin as a customer of the company at the time of the murder.
Griffin was taken into custody and indicted in 2018.
“We will pursue justice, no matter how much time has passed,” Katz said. “A murderer is going to prison and the victim’s family finally will have a measure of closure.”