The government has spent more than a decade trying to put Ronell Wilson to death.
Enduring through setback after setback, the extraordinary efforts to make Mr. Wilson the first person executed in New York in a half-century have been a testament to both the brutality of the murders he has admitted to carrying out and the political commitment to winning a seemingly ideal capital case.
It was pursued first by state prosecutors on Staten Island, where Mr. Wilson shot two undercover detectives at point-blank range during a failed sting operation, until New York’s highest court ruled the state’s death penalty unconstitutional.
The cause was taken up by federal prosecutors, who defied expectations by persuading a jury to hand down a death sentence — only to have the decision overturned because the arguments for execution had been so vigorous they crossed the lines of propriety.
And now prosecutors are again in court explaining to jurors why they should vote to execute Mr. Wilson, who is already spending life in prison without the possibility of release for the murders.
Source: The New York Times, July 12, 2013