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REPEAT FELON CONVICTED IN ROBBERY, ASSAULT

Repeat felon Gerald E. Lunetta was convicted Friday of second-degree robbery for stealing an expensive purse, credit cards and $200 from an Amherst widow he assaulted in her garage last December.

Jailed since his arraignment last April and still facing an unscheduled trial on unrelated forgery charges, Lunetta, 39, did not testify or present any witnesses. State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia returned him to jail, pending his Jan. 19 sentencing.

Prosecutor Michael J. McHale said he will urge Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark to recommend Lunetta be sentenced to a life term with a minimum sentence of at least 16 years because of four prior felony convictions, including two robbery convictions in Florida in 1985 and 1988.

Lunetta was convicted of attacking the widow in the garage of her Berkley Road home as she returned from shopping about noon last Dec. 8. He was caught the day after the incident when Amherst police made a routine traffic stop on Sheridan Drive and found both he and his vehicle matched the descriptions of the attacker given by the victim, now 73. Neither the purse nor the other items were ever recovered.

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