Brooklyn, NY - Justice has been thwarted for the families of murdered NYPD Officers Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin, due to a federal prosecutor's decision to drop the death penalty appeal, according to Newsday. Instead, convicted cop murderer Ronell Wilson will spend the rest of his life in prison, with no chance of parole.
Wilson has been sentenced to death twice, and both decisions were overturned. The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Wilson's first death sentence, and said it was because of "an improper prosecution argument."
In 2013, he was sentenced to death a second time by a jury, but that decision was also overturned, based on a "new legal standard for retardation." That decision was handed down by Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who said Wilson 'couldn't be executed because he was intellectually disabled in the eyes of the law,' according to The New York Daily News.
On Monday, June 26, Acting Brooklyn U.S. attorney Bridget Rohde said that the death penalty appeal was being dropped “after further consideration of all the pertinent legal issues.” She said Wilson was no less guilty of his "cold-blooded execution" because of the dropped appeal, and extended her "deepest sympathies" to the families of the detectives and police.
Words won't bring Officer Andrews and Officer Nemorin back.
Both heroes were executed by Ronell Wilson in 2003. At the time, the two detectives met with Wilson, who was leader of the large and violent Stapleton Crew, a gang known to police and prosecutors for its gun and drug trafficking. According to court records, the gang 'shot, robbed, and terrorized a path across Staten Island.'
During the 2006 trial, seven members of the gang testified against Wilson. The incident occurred in 2003, when Detective Andrews and Detective Nemorin were undercover, arranging to buy a Tec-9 pistol from Wilson. Something went horribly wrong, when Wilson and other gang members suspected that one if not both of the detectives were actually cops.
Audio recordings showed that Detective Nemorin told Wilson that Detective Andrews was his brother-in-law, and his conversation with Wilson continued to be recorded. The detectives' supervisor, NYPD Sergeant Richard Abbate, testified at the trial that he was monitoring the conversation, and he followed the detectives and Wilson around Staten Island until he could no longer do so.
During the trial, Sergeant Abbate said that Wilson told the two undercover detectives that he would have to search them. The last words on that audio recording are from Detective Nemorin, apparently still trying to ease Wilson's mind. He said, "That’s it, that’s it. All right? All right?"
He said that he was able to find the detectives' bodies using a signal from a surveillance transmitter that one detective wore, that was disguised as a pager, according to The New York Times. Sergeant Abbate said that Detective Andrews and Detective Nemorin were dead when he found them, and both had been shot in the head.
During the original trial in 2006, jurors decided on the death penalty for Wilson; his attorney then successfully appealed. That appeal was allowed by an appellate court hearing, and that court allowed the conviction but overturned the death penalty as punishment.
In 2013, a second jury decided again for the death penalty for Wilson. Before that trial, Wilson's defense attorney argued that he was "intellectually disabled," but at the time, the judge rejected the argument. In 2016, Judge Garaufis allowed the "intellectually disabled" defense, and said that Wilson 'met the standards of intellectual handicap under new Supreme Court case law'.
Wilson is currently in a high-security Beaumont federal prison. Before he transferred there, he was at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for his second trial, where he had a 'relationship' with a female guard, who got pregnant, and who had his son. Before his death penalty sentence was overturned, he was the first person to get the federal death penalty in New York in 50 years. He is reported to be a 'kingpin' on his prison block.
The issue of Wilson's intellectual disability is based on his IQ, which was tested and found to be around 70, the score for mental disability.
The widows of Detective Andrews and Detective Nemorin could not be reached for comment, according to Newsday. Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, said that he was "disappointed" by the decision.
He said, "The U.S. Attorney’s office did a magnificent job proving that Wilson deserved the death penalty in two separate trials, but convincing the court that he has any intellect seems an insurmountable task."