Today's New York Post reports, "Defense rests case in Ronell Wilson death penalty hearings." It's by Mitchel Maddux.
Defense attorneys rested their case yesterday, saying that a half-dozen of their experts had proven that their client, convicted of murdering two NYPD detectives, is mentally handicapped and should be spared execution.
Ronell Wilson, 30, has been the focus of six days of special hearings before a Brooklyn federal judge, where defense experts testified that he was intellectually impaired following a childhood of deprivation and neglect - with a drug-addicted mother who was largely absent from their broken home.
Defense lawyer Michael Burt said the defense team's "highly competent" specialists - including university academics, psychiatrists, and psychologists - had shown that Wilson's intelligence ranks in the bottom 10 percent of the spectrum.
"We think that the burden has been proven," Burt told Judge Nicholas Garaufis.
The special hearings are focused on whether Wilson should face the death penalty or spend life behind bars.
Wilson was already sentenced to death in 2007 after a federal jury found him guilty of gunning down the two cops. He became the city’s first federal defendant to receive a death sentence since 1954.
But an appeals court reversed Wilson’s sentence in 2010, saying prosecutors violated his constitutional rights by telling the jury his decision to go to trial demonstrated a lack of remorse and responsibility.
Once the special hearings come to a close, Garaufis will eventually rule on whether Wilson is mentally fit.
If the court finds that Wilson is not mentally handicapped, then he will schedule a new penalty-phase trial for the Spring.