New York court sentences cop killer to death

NEW YORK CITY, New York - A US federal court in New York on Wednesday sentenced convicted cop killer Ronell Wilson to death by lethal injection for a second time.

Wilson was first sentenced to death in 2007 following his conviction the previous year for the 2003 murder of two undercover New York police officers.

That sentence was overturned in 2010, when an appeals court ruled that prosecutors had unfairly tried to influence the jury in the case.

The court specifically faulted prosecutors for arguing that Wilson's claims of remorse should be discredited because he declined to plead guilty and refused to testify in his trial.

Wilson was prosecuted by the federal government because of the nature of the murder of detectives Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin.

The two were captured by Wilson while posing as international gun traffickers seeking to buy weapons from the gang he was part of on Staten Island.

Loretta E. Lynch, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said the two officers had been "ruthlessly executed."

"Their deaths were a tragedy, not just for their families, but for all of New York City. Today, a jury of his peers looked at Ronell Wilson, everything he did and all that he is, and rendered justice."

Wilson was initially tried in a state court but federal authorities took over the case after the death penalty was declared unconstitutional in the state in 2004.

The state of New York has not executed anyone since 1953.

Defence lawyers had pleaded against the capital sentence on the grounds that Wilson, 31, was unaware his victims were police officers, that he was emotionally disturbed and had suffered from learning difficulties as a child.

Those arguments were not accepted by the jury as sufficient to overturn the death penalty and Wilson will now be transferred to the high-security federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he will join more than 50 other prisoners on death row.

While being held in prison in Brooklyn, Wilson impregnated a prison guard, who gave birth to a son in March. The guard is currently being prosecuted herself.

The last man to be executed by the federal government was Louis Jones in 2003.