Facebook photo and a woman’s testimony lead to Gerald Griffin’s conviction in Queens after a decade

Gerald Griffin receives life sentence for 2011 murder; evidence includes a photo of a stolen watch and woman's pivotal testimony.
  1. After a decade-long investigation, Gerald Griffin faces justice for the heinous murder of Brooklyn pizzeria owner Peter Polizzi in Queens.
  2. Combining photographic evidence from social media and a woman’s testimony played crucial roles in securing Griffin’s conviction.
  3. The Polizzi family’s complicated history sees further intrigue as the patriarch, Pietro, serves time on unrelated charges during his son’s murder case.

In a case that has spanned nearly a decade, Gerald Griffin was finally sentenced to 25 years to life in a Queens prison. Griffin was found guilty of the brutal murder of Peter Polizzi, a Brooklyn-based pizzeria owner. The crime, which occurred in 2011, has gone unresolved until now.

Key Evidence: A Luxury Watch and a Testimony

Central to the prosecution’s case was a photograph uploaded to Griffin’s Facebook profile, depicting the 46-year-old wearing a luxury watch previously owned by the victim. Additionally, a pivotal testimony came from a woman who claimed Griffin had once exploited her in his role as a pimp.

“We will seek justice, no matter how much time has passed,” declared Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, emphasizing the tenacity of the justice system.

A Crime Scene Revisited

On the fateful day of September 14, 2011, a gruesome scene awaited Polizzi’s brother at 57-06 Clover Place in Ridgewood, a neighborhood on the cusp of Brooklyn and Queens. Discovering Peter Polizzi under a couch, naked and battered, he also noted the presence of a blood-streaked baseball bat, a chilling detail remembered by Patch.com.

Despite disturbing evidence, the case ran cold until 2018, when Griffin was formally indicted. Earlier this year, a jury found him guilty on murder, robbery, and other related charges.

Having been critically injured, Peter Polizzi succumbed to his injuries three days after the incident. The initial probe hit a wall, even when detectives managed to find a bystander who had seen two individuals exiting the apartment. Intriguingly, one of them sported a T-shirt labeled “Irving Scrap Metal.”

Breakthrough in the Investigation

A breakthrough occurred in 2015 when the NYPD’s cold case team, delving into phone logs, connected with a woman claiming to have been in the apartment at the time of the murder. DNA evidence from a wine glass at the crime scene corroborated her presence. The woman recounted how Griffin, whom she identified as her pimp, had ushered her into the apartment. It was there that Griffin, along with an unidentified accomplice, assaulted Polizzi — Griffin using the aforementioned baseball bat.

The assailants didn’t leave empty-handed, making off with cash, phones, a diamond-laden watch, and a mysterious box filled with a white powdery substance.

Further tightening the noose around Griffin, investigators spotlighted the photograph of him donning the pilfered watch. Griffin was also recognized as a patron of the “Irving Scrap Metal” store in Brooklyn, tying back to the witness’s observation. The identity and whereabouts of Griffin’s partner in crime remain elusive.

A Tangled Family Legacy

In a twist, at the time of Peter’s demise, his father, Pietro Polizzi, was serving time in federal prison, having been sentenced for the possession of child pornography. Pietro, the founder of the popular “Tony’s Pizzeria” in Bushwick, had bequeathed the thriving venture to his two sons following his imprisonment.