Prosecutors have denied William Wood Jr. opportunity to plead guilty to first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of two workers during a robbery at Chili’s Restaurant in Dewitt in September.
Chief Assistant District Attorney of Onondaga County, Melinda McGunnigle, said Wood tried to plead guilty to the entire indictment with a maximum sentence of life without parole.
However, McGunnigle said Wood must have the consent of the people to enter a guilty plea for murder in the first degree.
Since Wood was indicted on federal charges on Friday, McGunnigle said prosecutors are not ready to make a decision as they’re waiting for the case to play out on the federal level.
Wood could face the death penalty because the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he interfered with commerce by robbing Chili’s and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and murder.
Wood was already facing life in prison without parole if convicted.
The death penalty is not allowed in New York State and cannot be set as a sentence by county or state judges, which is why federal prosecutors would be involved.