First N.Y. Federal Death Sentence in 50 Years
A jury in Federal District Court in Brooklyn this evening sentenced Ronell Wilson to death for killing two New York City detectives.
The sentence came just one day after closing arguments ended and jurors began their deliberations.
Mr. Wilson, 24, was ordered to die by lethal injection for killing Detectives Rodney J. Andrews and James V. Nemorin. They were shot in the back of their heads during a weapons sting on Staten Island in March 10, 2003. He was convicted of their murders on Dec. 20 and also found guilty of racketeering, robbery, attempted carjacking and firearms charges.
The detectives were the first two officers killed by gunfire in a single day since 1988. The killings drew scrutiny to the work of undercover narcotics and firearms investigators, their mission perilous by nature and furtive by design.
It was never proved whether Mr. Wilson knew his victims were detectives. But a witness testified that Mr. Wilson gave a reason for the shootings in the minutes after he pulled the trigger. He did not care, the witness quoted him saying, “about anybody.”
Only three men have been executed in federal prison since 1988, when the modern death penalty statute was enacted, though the states have put hundreds to death. No federal jury in New York has ordered a death sentence in half a century.