In a case over a decade old, a Staten Island inmate was sentenced to die yesterday (July 24) by a federal jury in Brooklyn after an earlier death conviction was overturned. Ronell Wilson, 31, exhibited little remorse for the execution-style murder of two undercover police officers in 2003 thus landing him back on death row.
Wilson owns the distinction of becoming the first person to receive the death penalty since 1953, writes the New York Times. Grim details of the case were relived by the family of victims Detective Rodney J. Andrews and Detective James V. Nemorin. The anonymous 12-person jury reached their decision in just five hours to send Wilson back to death row.
Testimony heard in the case revealed that Wilson walked around the prison unchecked after the shooting, bullied other prisoners and also fathered a son with a prison guard. Wilson’s lawless behavior proved to the jury that prison had not rehabilitated him at all.
The father of Detective Andrews had sharp words for Wilson outside the courthouse.
“He’s done too many things,” said Rodney Andrews, Sr., who also said he wants to watch the execution take place. “He’s proven that he’s not going to change.”
Wilson shot the detectives at point-blank range in the back of their heads on a Staten Island street. The officers were part of a sting operation to buy an illegal gun.
Federal prosecutors pursued a death conviction and won the case in 2007. It was later overturned in 2010 in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Although Wilson’s defense argued life in prison was enough for their client considering his tough upbringing and other bad influences, that did not sway the prosecution or jurors.
“He’s not going to stop until he’s dead,” said prosecutor Celia Cohen in her closing argument. “Truer words were never said.”
Check out the gallery with photos from the trial and older photos over the last ten years on the following pages.
Photos: New York Times, New York Daily News, Newsday, New York Post, NYPD