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United States v. Wilson

January 26, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RONELL WILSON, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garaufis, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

A jury has found Ronell Wilson guilty of the following capital crimes: two counts of murder in aid of racketeering, one count of carjacking, and two counts of causing death through use of a firearm.*fn1 These charges were based on Wilson's March 10, 2003 execution of undercover New York City Police Department Detectives Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin, whom he was attempting to rob of the $1,200 they planned to use to purchase a firearm from Wilson and his fellow members of the Stapleton Crew street gang. (See Order dated January 9, 2007 at 3-7.) The Government is seeking the death penalty against Wilson. The parties have finished presenting their evidence in the penalty phase and will present their penalty-phase closing arguments on January 29, 2007.

Wilson has provided the court a list of thirty-five mitigating factors for inclusion in the court's jury charge. The Government has moved the court to preclude mitigating factors that were not previously noticed and to combine mitigating factors that are elements of previously noticed factors. For the reasons set forth below, that motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I. Background

Shortly before the trial phase of this case commenced, the court ordered Wilson to disclose to the Government the mitigating factors he intended to prove in the penalty phase of this case should he be found guilty of any capital crimes. (See Order dated Nov. 24, 2006 at 2-4.) The court provided that "[i]f it becomes necessary for Wilson, based on evidence presented at trial, to introduce evidence of additional factors . . . he may apply to the court in a timely manner for permission to introduce such evidence." (Id. at 4.)

Pursuant to the court's Order, Wilson disclosed that he intended to prove thirty mitigating factors, each of which he identified and briefly described. (See Wilson Ltr. to Judge Garaufis dated Dec. 1, 2006 (listing twelve non-mental-health mitigating factors); Wilson Ltr. to Judge Garaufis dated Jan. 7, 2007 (listing eighteen mental-health mitigating factors).)

After the parties finished presenting evidence in the penalty phase, but before they made their closing arguments, Wilson filed the following list of thirty-five mitigating factors for inclusion in the court's jury charge:

1. Ronell Wilson was twenty years old on March 10, 2003.

2. If he is not sentenced to death, Ronell Wilson will be incarcerated for the rest of his life in prison without possibility of release or parole.

3. A sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of release is a harsh sentence.

4. Ronell Wilson's parents were substance abusers which resulted in poor parenting.

5. During his formative years, Ronell Wilson experienced an unstable and chaotic living environment.

6. As a young child Ronell Wilson was separated from his mother and siblings.

7. Throughout his childhood, Ronell Wilson was saddened by his separation from his family.

8. Ronell Wilson's father took no responsibility for raising him.

9. During his early childhood, Ronell Wilson was exposed to an unsafe and unsanitary home environment.

10. At age 21 months, Ronell Wilson contracted bacterial meningitis.

11. As a result of contracting bacterial meningitis, Ronell Wilson was hospitalized for over two weeks.

12. Throughout his childhood, Ronell Wilson lived in overcrowded homes.

13. Throughout his childhood, Ronell Wilson was exposed to his mother's and aunt's drug use and their acts of violence against each other.

14. As he was growing up, Ronell Wilson was exposed to drugs and violence in his community.

15. Ronell Wilson grew up in poverty and deprivation.

16. At age 6, Ronell Wilson was admitted to the emergency room for psychiatric care on 12/21/88.

17. At age 6, Ronell Wilson was admitted to the children psychiatric unit at Elmhurst hospital on two occasions, the first from 1/25/89 to 2/21/89 ...


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