Lawyers for Ronell Wilson, a 30-year-old convicted cop killer, are hoping to use Wilson’s low IQ to keep him off Death Row. Despite the defense attorney’s argument that Wilson’s IQ qualifies him as mentally handicapped, Wilson’s Facebook page features quotes from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., author Ralph Ellison and Henry Ford.
Wilson's lawyers laid out their defense for a Brooklyn federal judge on Monday. They hope to convince the judge to uphold a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that overturned his death sentence. However, the sentence was overturned due to a prosecutorial error, according the New York Daily News.
Wilson was found guilty of murdering two police detectives, Rodney Andrews and James Nemorin, during an undercover gun “buy-and-bust” sting in 2003 on Staten Island.
Wilson’s IQ is just under 70, which his lawyers will argue qualify him as mentally handicapped. As a result, they aruge, Wilson cannot be held entirely responsible for his crimes. The low IQ defense, otherwise known as the Atkins defense, has become an increasingly popular strategy for lawyers after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to execute mentally handicapped prisoners in 2009.
The prosecutors, though, are confident that there is enough evidence to prove Wilson a calculating, cold-blooded murderer.
On his Facebook page, Wilson proudly shows a Bloods gang tattoo on his bicep in a prison photo. He also posted in January a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar . . . It understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”
Another quote on the page was pulled from Ralph Ellison’s book, “Invisible Man: “It takes a deeper commitment 2 change and an even deeper commitment 2 grow.”
The hearing will last about three weeks, during which the judge will investigate Wilson’s educational history, his IQ, and letters and email communications he’s sent from prison to determine Wilson’s true mental faculties.
Wilson is currently detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where he does not have access to the Internet. This means, according to the Daily News, an outsider updates his Facebook page with emails Wilson sends.