Federal authorities seek the death penalty against William Wood Jr.

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — United States Attorney General William Barr has authorized the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Syracuse to pursue the death penalty against the man who admitted to shooting and killing two people inside a DeWitt Chili’s restaurant in September.

William Wood Jr. opened fire inside the Chili’s on Erie Boulevard, killing two during an armed robbery.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick says he likely planned to kill more, but there was an issue with his gun. 

Wood Jr. was indicted by a grand jury on Feb. 14. 

While charges contained in that indictment carry a maximum sentence of death, the death penalty may only be pursued if authorized by the Attorney General.  

Following Attorney General Barr’s authorization, a Notice of Intent to Pursue the Death Penalty was filed by the United States Attorney’s Office.  

Wood is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday to state charges he pleaded guilty to. He pleaded guilty to a 10-count indictment, including charges for first-degree murder, second-degree murder and robbery.

Wood is expected to get a life sentence from the state. 

The death penalty is not allowed in New York State and can not be set as a sentence by county or state judges, which is why federal prosecutors are involved. 

The last time the death penalty was last considered in New York was for the case of David Renz in 2013, who was convicted of murdering a Liverpool school librarian and raping a 10-year-old girl after abducting them in the parking lot of Great Northern Mall. 

Four others have been charged in connection to the double homicide. 

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