Cop-killer sees second death sentence

July 26, 2013 Editorial Staff
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A Brooklyn federal jury re-sentenced New York City “thug” Ronell Wilson to death for the murder of two undercover NYPD detectives on Staten Island in 2003.

The sentence was reinstated following an appeals court’s decision to throw it out in 2010 due to a mistake by prosecutors. Three years later, the sentence was reinstated.

Wilson, 31, was convicted in 2006 in federal court for the execution-style murders of Officers Rodney Andrews Jr. and James Nemorin – both Brooklynites — during a gun buy-and-bust operation on March 10, 2003.

“When two New York City police officers were killed in cold blood it was more than a calculated attack on two outstanding human beings,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “It was an assault on the society that those officers represented, and for that reason their murders had to be answered with the full force of punishment at society’s disposal.”

Kelly added, “To do otherwise is to invite chaos.”

The deliberation lasted five hours the morning of Wednesday, July 24, following arguments by Wilson’s attorneys that the death penalty was too cruel, insisting that life behind bars would suffice for the New York City gang member. Federal prosecutors, however, successfully convinced the second round of jurors that Wilson should receive the death penalty.

The prosecution argued that Wilson’s life held little value with the intended death of two policemen on his hands.

Kelly commended the prosecutors and staff of the United States Attorney’s Office for their “persistent, outstanding work in presenting this case” as well as the jury for doing their “difficult duty.”

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch agreed, calling Wilson a personified “evil.

“There is no more difficult decision to ask a jury to make than this one, so we must commend them for doing their duty and following their conscience,” he said. “This is a just decision.”

Wilson’s case was tried in federal court just after the death penalty was declared unconstitutional in New York State by the state’s highest court in 2004. His was the first death sentence and impending execution imposed by a New York Federal Court – the only court that can hand down sentences of capital punishment in New York — in 60 years.

“We hope that this measure of justice brings some solace to those family and friends who still grieve the terrible loss of Detectives Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin,” said Kelly.

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