In April 2003, Angel DeAngelo was convicted by a jury on federal charges of murdering gang member Thomas Palazzotto in a drive-by shooting in Brooklyn, New York, in 1999. At the trial, three gang members involved in the shooting testified that DeAngelo was the killer. A United States District Court judge vacated the conviction in February 2004, after finding that these three witnesses had perjured themselves. The prosecution admitted that one of the witnesses had ordered the shooting, and that several inmates had come forward to say that another witness had confessed to the actual shooting, but prosecutors maintained that DeAngelo was the killer. The judge concluded that the witnesses had falsely accused DeAngelo of the murder in order to avoid life sentences, and that one of the three was likely the real killer. In March 2004, the prosecution dismissed the murder charge against DeAngelo in exchange for a guilty plea to making a false statement when he denied that he was present at the murder. DeAngelo was then released.