Slain cop's kin: Killer still deserves death penalty
Relatives of a slain New York City police officer from Baldwin Harbor vowed Thursday to not give up the fight to have the man convicted of the killing put to death despite an appeals court ruling overturning a death sentence verdict.
"I'm really upset about that," said Petion Nemorin, 50, older brother of Det. James Nemorin, killed along with another detective while working undercover in 2003, said of the appeals court ruling. "He should be sentenced to death."
Ronell Wilson, now 28, was a leader of a violent Staten Island gang known as the Stapleton Crew, prosecutors said. He fatally shot Nemorin and Det. Rodney J. Andrews, of Middle Village, Queens, after an undercover gun buy went bad.
A federal jury in Brooklyn found Wilson guilty of capital murder in 2006, and a jury sentenced him to death by lethal injection in January 2007. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upheld Wilson's conviction but rejected the death sentence and sent his case back to U.S. District Court for new sentencing.
William J. Muller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in Brooklyn, said Thursday that prosecutors are reviewing the appeals court ruling and considering options.
The appeals court ruled that federal prosecutors violated Ronell Wilson's constitutional rights by improperly suggesting that he should receive the death penalty because he insisted on a trial and because he failed to testify, thereby contradicting his claims at sentencing that he was taking responsibility for his crimes.
The three-judge panel ruled that such statements by the prosecutor violated Wilson's Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and his Sixth Amendment rights to a jury trial.
Such fine points of constitutional law meant little to Petion Nemorin, 50, of Dacula, Ga., Thursday, a day after the appeals court ruling became public.
"The technicalities don't change the outcome of what happened to my brother," Nemorin said in a telephone interview. "This guy still killed my brother."
If it takes a new sentencing hearing to get the death penalty imposed a second time, the Nemorin family will demand it, he said.
"We're going to fight this to the end," Nemorin said. "It's not something we're going to let go. We want to see him die."