Jury sentences convicted killer a second time to death

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RENO, NV (KOLO) UPDATE: A Washoe County District Court jury has sentenced Tracy Petrocelli to death, 37 years after doing so the first time.

The man who killed Reno car salesman James Wilson and two other people in 1982 had been on death row since 1985, except for the last year, when he was moved to Carson City because of health issues, and then the Washoe County jail during the new re-sentencing trial.

It's not clear when he will be moved back to death row in Ely.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Washoe County District Court jury has begun deliberating the re-sentencing trial of Tracy Petrocelli. The jury got the case about noon May 16, 2019 after hearing closing arguments.

Petrocelli, convicted in 1982 of killing Reno car salesman James Wilson, was granted a new sentencing trial by a federal appeals court that ruled his rights had been violated during the original trial's penalty phase.

He had also been convicted of a murder in California and another in Washington state.

May 15, during the new sentencing trial, a now-frail 67-year-old Petrocelli softly spoke to the court and expressed regret for his actions and the pain he caused. His defense says he's a different man now; prosecutors say he's the same man he was when he killed three people.

Two of Wilson's sons, Harry and Eddie, then spoke to the court about how their families had been denied Wilson's companionship over the years.

A psychologist spoke to the court about how Petrocelli was diagnosed with antisocial disorder soon after starting his prison term. He had been on death row since 1985, but was transferred to Carson City in the last year for medical care after having a heart attack behind bars. Since at least March 2019, he has voluntarily not been taking his cardiac medication. He also has at least one suicide attempt on his record since he went to prison, where he has little disciplinary action against him.

The jury must choose from three sentences: death, life in prison with parole or without parole. Jurors have to consider aggravating circumstances against mitigating circumstances, we well as Petrocelli's age, health and conduct while he's been behind bars.

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