Note: we are republishing this story amid the surge in violent crime America is currently facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A New York man who killed two detectives has been taken off of death row after a federal judge found that he is legally considered to be intellectually disabled.
Rowell Wilson, 33, was sentenced to death for a March 10, 2003, incident in which he shot James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews, both of whom were undercover NYPD detectives, reports WPIX. Both were shot in the back of the head.
In court in 2006, a prosecutor said Wilson was part of a Staten Island gang called the Stapleton Crew. The prosecutor said Wilson may have been trying to steal $1,200 from the detectives while they posed as potential gun buyers.
Wilson was convicted by a jury and sentenced to death by lethal injection.
In 2010, the sentence was thrown out by an appeals court due to a jury error. In 2013, prosecutors repeated the penalty phase and a jury resentenced him to death. Wilson has been in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, since the 2013 sentencing.
In 2012, Wilson impregnated a prison guard, Nancy Gonzales while incarcerated in New York City. Their child, Justus, was born soon after Gonzales was arrested, reports Daily Mail.
Gonzales was sentenced to prison for one year and one day for having relations with an inmate.
During a 2012 hearing, a judge found that Wilson’s IQ scores may qualify him for being considered intellectually disabled.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that IQ score alone was not enough for a judge to determine a person to be intellectually disabled.
After reviewing his findings, Wilson was ruled to be intellectually disabled and was removed from death row. He will serve life in prison without parole, reports the Daily Mail.