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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has told the family of fallen Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson that they will not pursue the death penalty in the case of his murder.
“It’s a smack in the face, it’s disrespectful and it’s ignorant, point blank,” said Shaki’ra Wilson-Burroughs, sister of slain Officer Robert Wilson III.
Wilson-Burroughs says the District Attorney’s Chief of Homicide, Anthony Voci, called at 3:58 p.m. Friday to inform the family of a plea deal.
She says the brothers, Carlton Hipps and Ramone Williams, were offered life sentences plus 50 to 100 years in prison if they plead guilty and give up their appeal rights.
“I was shaking. I didn’t even have a chance to process it before he was off the phone,” Wilson-Burroughs said of the phone call that lasted “a few minutes.”
Months ago, the family wanted Larry Kranser, the city’s top prosecutor, to step aside in the case, fearing he would uphold his campaign pledge against the death penalty.
“What do you mean give them a deal,” questioned Constance Wilson, the victim’s grandmother. “They don’t need a deal! They’re cold blooded killers.”
On a snowy March in 2015, Wilson III stopped into a Game Stop in North Philadelphia to pick up a present for his young son.
Surveillance video shows the two defendants entering the store and opening fire, hitting Wilson III, who later died at a hospital.
His grandmother says they’ve been waiting for justice ever since in a case that has continued to drag on through a leadership transition in the DA’s office.
“They had the gun, the witnesses, video, and the murderers, nothing lacking,” said Constance. “Now [Krasner] gets into office and wants to investigate. Investigate what?”
Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby explained that the family feels disrespected by the news.
“Bottom line, the Wilson family feels disrespected. They feel closed out, they feel that they were shunned. They feel that people are walking on the grave of Robert Wilson. And these two people that killed him will be able to walk through the halls of a state prison for years to come,” said Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby.
Last summer, a city judge approved the past prosecution’s push to seek the death penalty, though there is currently a moratorium on capital punishment under Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
Hipps and Williams have a court hearing scheduled for Monday morning.
The DA’s Office has declined to comment.