[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----NEW YORK
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Jul 23 02:46:17 CDT 2005
Death Penalty to Be Sought in Killing of Two Police Detectives
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn announced yesterday that they planned to
seek the death penalty against a man accused of fatally shooting two
police detectives in an undercover gun purchase on Staten Island 2 years
At a hearing in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, the prosecutors said
they would seek capital punishment against Ronell Wilson, who the
authorities said was a gang member going by the street name Rated R. Mr.
Wilson, 23, has been charged with killing Detectives Rodney J. Andrews and
James V. Nemorin in March 2003 as they tried to buy a Tec-9 submachine gun
in a sting operation on Staten Island.
Staten Island prosecutors had initially sought the death penalty
themselves against Mr. Wilson, but in June 2004 the state's highest court,
the Court of Appeals, ruled that part of the state death penalty statute
was unconstitutional, effectively halting its use. In November, Mr. Wilson
and 4 co-defendants were named in a federal racketeering indictment in the
Under federal law, Mr. Wilson could face execution if convicted of murder,
the most serious charge in the indictment.
Mr. Wilson's lawyer, Ephraim Savitt, said he had been concerned but not
surprised by the decision. "It's very obvious the only reason this is now
a federal, not a state, case is the element of seeking the death penalty,"
Mr. Savitt said.
However, city officials, including Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly,
have said the death penalty is warranted because the crime demands the
Shortly after the shootings, three men - Jesse Jacobus, Omar Green, and
Mitchell Diaz - pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in State Supreme
Court on Staten Island and, according to the authorities, are cooperating
with the prosecution.
Law enforcement officials have said that the undercover detectives, posing
as a livery-cab driver and his friend, arranged to buy a gun from Mr.
Green, who put them in touch with Mr. Jacobus and Mr. Wilson.
The 2 rode in the back seat of the detectives' car, the officials say, and
Mr. Wilson shot them in the back of the head during a robbery attempt. Mr.
Diaz provided the gun used in the killings, the authorities have said.
Mr. Wilson's trial is scheduled to begin in September 2006.
(source: New York Times)
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