The government has spent more than a decade trying to put Ronell Wilson to death in New York State, says the New York Times. It was pursued first by state prosecutors on Staten Island, where 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 persuaded a jury to hand down a death sentence but the decision was overturned because the arguments for execution had been so vigorous they crossed the lines of propriety. Now prosecutors are again in court explaining to jurors why they should vote to execute Wilson, who would be the first person executed in New York in a half-century. He already is spending life in prison without the possibility of release. Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, prosecutors have tried more than 280 people nationwide in death penalty cases and executed three of them, says the Death Penalty Information Center. Sixty federal prisoners await execution.