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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 12:52 GMT
Rare death sentence in New York
Ronell Wilson
Wilson shot two undercover police officers in 2003
A convicted murderer has been sentenced to death in New York, the first time the death penalty has been awarded in a federal case there for over 50 years.

Ronell Wilson, 24, was found guilty last month of killing two policemen in Staten Island in 2003.

A federal jury deliberated for two days before sentencing him to die by lethal injection.

The death penalty was last awarded in a federal case in New York in 1954, for a bank robber who killed an FBI agent.

Nationwide, there are fewer than 50 inmates on the federal death row.

Wilson was found guilty last month of murder, robbery, carjacking and firearms charges.

He shot undercover police officers Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin in the back of the head as he sat in their car during a weapons sting.

Prosecutors claimed he knew that the two men were undercover officers when he shot them, but the defence said there was no evidence to back this up.

Juries in New York have refused to award the death penalty against a number of high-profile federal defendants in the past.

New York State has the death penalty but has not executed anyone since 1963.

A state court ruling in 2004 effectively suspended New York's death penalty, prompting federal prosecutors to take Ronell Wilson's case out of state hands.


SEE ALSO
Florida governor halts executions
16 Dec 06 |  Americas
Death penalty 'at record levels'
04 Apr 05 |  Americas

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