A federal jury found Ronnell Wilson guilty of shooting two undercover detective in Staten Island three years ago. Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews were trying to buy illegal guns in a sting operation. Here is a description of the crime from the Post:
Wilson and another man, Jessie Jacobus, had decided that they would rob Nemorin - although they realized he might be a cop - instead of selling him a gun. The two thugs climbed into the back seat of Nemorin's car. A few moments later, Wilson shot both officers, then patted down their bodies for cash.
Wilson later boasted to his pals about the slayings.
When he was arrested a few days later, cops found handwritten rap lyrics in his pocket in which he bragged about the shooting.
The misspelled, barely intelligible lyrics read: "You better have that vast and dat Golock. Leave a 45 slogs in da back of ya head. Cause I'm getting dat bread, ain't goin stop to I'm dead."
Wilson, a gang member in the Stapleton Crew who went by the name "Rated R," was found guilty on ten counts, including racketeering murder, carjacking, and criminal use of a firearm. Family members and police officers were relieved with the verdict. The NY Times pointed out that the trial looked at the lives of undercover police officers, and how the Queens shoting of Sean Bell by an undercover NYPD unit, "made for eneasy parallels as such undercover terms of as set (the area of operation) and ghost (for backup officer) were analyzed simultaneously in the Brooklyn courtroom and in protests and news conferences concerning the Queens case.
The next step for the jury will be to decide whether or not Wilson should be sentenced to death. The last time the death penalty was imposed by a NY federal court was in the 1950s.
And Mayor Bloomberg praised the verdict and said:
Detectives Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin were selfless heroes who put their lives on the line to get illegal guns off the streets of our City. For their families, today's guilty verdict, and the knowledge that a cop killer will not be allowed to roam free, provides some small measure of comfort. We will never forget the sacrifice of Detectives Andrews and Nemorin. We will be forever grateful for their service, courage and dedication to our City. And we will continue to honor their memory by doing everything possible to take illegal guns off the street and protect the safety of all New Yorkers.
Photograph of Ronell Wilson earlier this year by Ed Betz/AP