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Teen held in slaying of Amherst dentist

A Black Rock youth was charged Saturday with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of an Amherst dentist.

Patrick Farrell, 17, of East Street was arrested by town detectives Friday night and accused in the slaying of Dr. Joseph D. Matteliano in his Kim Circle home Feb. 2.

Amherst Police Chief John J. Moslow said Farrell "gave us a written statement as to what occurred" the evening of Matteliano's death. Farrell attends Lafayette High School, Moslow said, and was recently befriended by Matteliano.

Police did not talk about a motive for the killing. Nor did they say if Farrell was the young man they questioned and released early in the investigation.

After a brief appearance Saturday in Amherst Town Court, the dark-haired, thin suspect was taken to Erie County Holding Center to await arraignment Thursday. No bail was set by town Justice Geoffrey K. Klein.

Farrell's relatives declined to comment as they left court.

Matteliano's family issued a statement later in the day that thanked Amherst police and other agencies that participated in the investigation and said, in part, "As we mourn, we are hopeful that the person responsible for this crime soon will be brought to justice. While this can never bring back our beloved Dr. Joe, it will provide some closure and allow us to move on with our lives."

Hours after emergency crews were unable to revive Matteliano, following a 911 call from his home at about 2:30 a.m., Amherst detectives questioned a younger man described as someone who knew the victim. Though no charges were filed, they said the unidentified youth remained "somebody of particular interest."

"This is a person who we know was a friend or acquaintance of the victim," Capt. Timothy M. Green said then.

Otherwise, police have been tight-lipped about the stabbing, refusing to say exactly where the attack took place, how many times the victim was stabbed or whether a weapon was recovered.

The arrest was made by Detectives John Trabert and Robert Cottrell.

Neighbors described the dentist as "a nice guy, a wonderful guy" -- a grandfather who lived alone but often opened up his backyard pool to children in the cul-de-sac near Millersport Highway and Maple Road.

The Buffalo native graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Dentistry, where he was class president in each of his four years, and practiced dentistry for more than three decades on Union Road in West Seneca.

A musician who played several instruments, Matteliano organized and performed with three bands, and also was a photographer and painter.

Staff writer James Heaney contributed to this story.

e-mail: tbuckham@buffnews.com

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