Appeals Court Overturns Death Sentence for Staten Island Cop Killer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Ronell Wilson, seen in this photo provided by the U.S. attorney's office, was convicted in Brooklyn Federal Court in December, 2006, for the execution-style slaying of two police officers.

    A federal appeals court has tossed out the death penalty given to the gunman who killed two New York undercover police officers.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Ronell Wilson, 28, must be resentenced for killing the officers during a 2003 gun deal gone bad on Staten Island.

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    In December of 2006, Wilson was convicted of shooting detectives James V. Nemorin and Rodney J. Andrews both in the back of the head in a car March 10, 2003 on on Hannah Street in Tompkinsville.

    The detectives were trying to execute a run of the mill "buy-and-bust" when things turned violent.

    Wilson was the first federal defendant to receive the death penalty in the city in more than five decades.

    The appeals court said prosecutors made a legal error at the trial and then the judge did not correct it during jury instruction.

    In a statement , NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, "Commissioner [Ray] Kelly believes that the murder of a police officer is an attack on society itself and should be punished with the death penalty. There were no circumstances to suggest otherwise in the murders of Detectives Andrews and Nemorin, which were beyond heinous, cold-blooded executions."

    The head of the NYPD officer's union was equally furious at the decision.

    “Ronell Wilson earned himself the death penalty with the cold-blooded execution of two courageous detectives who risked and lost their lives fighting to make this city safer," said PBA President Patrick Lynch.

    "This vile individual should not be spared because of a mere technicality," he added. "He is a cold-blooded killer who deserves the fate that he has brought on himself."