Appeals court won't hear cop-killer case

Ronell Wilson was convicted in 2006 of murdering Ronell Wilson was convicted in 2006 of murdering NYPD cops James Nemorin of Baldwin Harbor and Rodney Andrews of Middle Village during a 2003 undercover drug buy. (March 13, 2003) Photo Credit: Robert Mecea

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An appeals court Tuesday refused to reconsider its July ruling overturning the death penalty for cop-killer Ronell Wilson, leaving federal prosecutors in Brooklyn with 90 days to decide whether to go to the Supreme Court or retry the penalty phase of the trial.

Wilson, 28, of the Stapleton neighborhood on Staten Island, was convicted in 2006 of killing undercover NYPD detectives James Nemorin of Baldwin Harbor and Rodney Andrews of Queens in March 2003 during a drug buy that went bad. He was the first New Yorker sentenced to death under federal law in 50 years.

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A three-judge panel of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the death penalty after ruling 2-1 that prosecutors overreached in their summation during the 2007 penalty phase of the case. They violated Wilson's constitutional rights, the panel said, by criticizing his failure to testify and his insistence on a trial during jury arguments.

The full Second Circuit refused, without an opinion, to review the panel's ruling.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, said Tuesday the office is considering its options.

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