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Officers' killer gets death sentence

Ronell Wilson shot two New York undercover detectives in 2003.

March 30, 2007|From Newsday

NEW YORK — A man convicted of killing two undercover detectives in 2003 during a gun deal was sentenced to death Thursday.

"It is the judgment of this court that the defendant, Ronell Wilson, is sentenced to death," U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis told a packed gallery in the federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn. "Ronell Wilson has been proven guilty not only beyond a reasonable doubt, but beyond all doubt."

If he dies by lethal injection, Wilson, 24, would be the first federal inmate sentenced in New York to be executed since the 1950s.

Before Garaufis condemned him, a somber Wilson stood between his attorneys and addressed the court with a short statement.

"I would like to say to the families of the victims that I am sorry -- truly sorry -- for the pain I have caused," Wilson said.

He also thanked Garaufis for courtesies the judge had extended him, including allowing a visit with his mother in the courthouse earlier Thursday. Looking toward his prosecutors, Wilson again insisted that he did not know his victims -- James Nemorin, 36, and Rodney Andrews, 34, -- were undercover detectives when he shot them.

"None of us knew they were cops, period," Wilson said while referring to his co-defendants who received prison terms for their roles in the slayings.

The sentencing was held in a large ceremonial courtroom to accommodate the hundreds of New York City detectives and police officers on hand.

Derek Williams, Andrews' cousin, spoke during the sentencing on behalf of the families.

"I am very proud of the men and women of the New York City Police Department and proud of detectives Andrews and Nemorin," Williams said.

Referring to his cousin, he added: "As I sit down at my desk doing my job, every so often I think about what the last few minutes and hours of his life were like. It is hard not to break down and cry. He was a good man doing a good job."

No execution date was set, and years of appeals of the death sentence were expected, officials said.

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