AP NEWS

Guilty plea denied while death penalty considered in NY case

February 21, 2019

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A man’s guilty plea in the deaths of two former co-workers is on hold as federal prosecutors decide whether to pursue the death penalty.

Syracuse.com reports William Wood of Syracuse was prepared to plead guilty to a state charge of first-degree murder Wednesday and serve a life sentence for the September shooting inside a Chili’s restaurant where he used to work.

But Chief Assistant District Attorney Melinda McGunnigle blocked the plea under a law that requires prosecutor consent for a guilty plea to first-degree murder.

The move gives federal prosecutors, who are pursuing separate charges, more time to consider a capital case.

Wood’s lawyer objects, calling the law unconstitutional.

The judge gave prosecutors a week to put in writing why the plea should not be allowed.

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Information from: www.syracuse.com

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Information from: The Post-Standard, http://www.syracuse.com