Judge Vacates Death Sentence for Man Convicted in ’03 Slaying of Two NYPD

20256721_d_3p_deanronnelwilson15102180jpg{NEW YORK 1} – A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that a man convicted in the 2003 shootings of two undercover NYPD detectives cannot be put to death because he is intellectually disabled. NY1’s Lori Chung filed the following report.

Once again, Ronell Wilson learned he will not be executed for the murders of two NYPD detectives. A federal judge ruled that Wilson is mentally handicapped.

“The Supreme Court has said people who are intellectually disabled should not be executed,” said Attorney Anthony Ricco.

The judge compelled by the Second Circuit to take another look at Wilson’s mental abilities when he shot and killed Officers Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin during a buy-and-bust operation in 2003.

While a prior hearing determined that Wilson’s low IQ alone wasn’t enough to declare him mentally unfit, Judge Nicholas Garaufis says he’s now guided by that by a separate Supreme Court decision by to also consider other factors. Garaufis writes that using that criteria, Wilson “meets the legal standard for proving intellectual disability. Accordingly, Wilson is ineligible to receive the death sentence that has been imposed on him.” Attorney Anthony Ricco agrees.

“Ronell has had documented history of mental disability long before his 18th birthday,” Ricco said.

Ricco represented one of Wilson’s co-defendants in the first trial, as well as the female prison guard that Wilson impregnated while in prison. He says the judge likely agonized over what was ultimately the right decision.

“These are hero police officers, but the judge has a higher obligation,” Ricco said.

Michael Palladino, the head of the Detectives Endowment Association, says it’s hard to accept.

“Ronell Wilson had a well-calculated, premeditated plan of murder,” Palladino said.

After Wilson’s first jury conviction and death penalty sentence was thrown out on a technicality, a second jury came to the same decision. Palladino says that speaks volumes on the case.

“Two juries sitting separately heard all of the evidence,” Palladino said. “And they imposed the death penalty of Ronell Wilson.”

Both Andrews and Nemorin were shot execution-style while working undercover. Prosecutors proved that Wilson knew that when he shot them. He now faces life in prison.

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About Cholo Brooks 13357 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.