Updated: 3:34 p.m.
Two men charged in the 2015 shooting death of a Philadelphia police officer during a robbery pleaded guilty on Monday to escape the possibility of a death sentence.
Family members of Sgt. Robert Wilson III say they were told late Friday about the plea deal for brothers Carlton Hipps and Ramone Williams who were offered life plus 50 to 100 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty and waiving any appeals.
Wilson’s family members said they wanted prosecutors to seek the death penalty, and several testified against the deal Monday.
Last year, a city judge approved a former prosecutor’s plan to seek capital punishment in the case.
New Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, however, said during his campaign he would not seek capital punishment in any case.
“The death penalty has become death by incarceration,” Krasner said. “Retraumatization will be minimal.”
Several family members and police officers were extremely upset over the plea deal.
Troy Burroughs, who was Wilson’s brother-in-law, said it felt like “a punch in the face.”
“They call this death by incarceration,” said Officer Michael Rivera, who went through the police academy with Wilson. “I call it justice deferred.”
During the hearing, Williams chose to address the court, while Hipps did not.
“I caused a lot of grief and pain to your family, and I’m deeply sorry,” Williams said.
“I thought this was a death penalty case,” said Police Commissioner Richard Ross during a news conference after the hearing. “If there ever was one, this would be it.”