NEW YORK — A New York City street gang member was given the death penalty on Wednesday in the execution-style slayings of two undercover police officers in 2003 — the latest chapter in a case that has seen the defendant’s original death sentence overturned, his behind-bars affair with a prison guard exposed, and the massive cost of his defense questioned.
It took a jury just one day to deliberate in a Brooklyn federal court before deciding the fate of Ronell Wilson.
Another jury had found Wilson guilty in the point-blank shootings of undercover officers James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews. The gunman shot both men in the head after one pleaded for his life.
The first jury sentenced Wilson in 2007 to die by lethal injection, making him the first federal defendant to receive a death sentence in New York City since the 1950s. But an appeals court threw out the sentence in 2010 and prosecutors chose to repeat the penalty phase rather than let Wilson serve an automatic life term.
US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis had questioned the decision, saying that it put taxpayers on course to spend millions of dollars more on Wilson’s defense.